In Asia, Typhoon Morakot has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but not before it caused widespread destruction in several countries.
The typhoon dumped as much as 80 inches of rain in parts of Taiwan, where 400 or more people were reported buried and are unaccounted for after a mudslide in one village Sunday morning. In China, hundreds of villages and towns were flooded and more than 2,000 houses collapsed. Almost one million people were evacuated. In the Phillippines, the storm killed at least 22 people over the weekend.
Blogger Sandy in Neipu, Taiwain describes the devastation:
Riding around Neipu today we saw – a duck farm’s metal shed all twisted all over the bridge between Neipu and WanJin, elementary school and junior high with school kids gathering fallen tree limbs to put into dumpsters, and signs blown all over. The new levy at the river between Neipu and WanLuan where we had ridden bicycles to all summer is covered with mud and a tree is across the one-lane bridge, but less flooding occured there than before.
More aftermath of the typhoon – many stranded, many displaced from their homes, many without power or water, many wondering if their families high in the mountains are all right, many scared, many hungry and thirsty, many cleaning mud and floodwaters from their homes.
Watch a video of the typhoon’s aftermath from YouTube user WXextremeWX:
Blogger Nick in Taiwan says that many have braved the weather:
In New Orleans, when a hurricane was coming, we usually evacuated – either to Baton Rouge or Texas or wherever we could north or west. Well, you can’t really evacuate here, since, you know, we’re on a small island, and no matter where you go you’re more than likely still somewhere in the storm’s path. You obviously can’t fly anywhere, and boating is not too encouraged in these conditions. So, we’re stuck here.
Some of you might think that I’m nuts for venturing out in this weather, but the truth is, I am far from alone. In fact, the weather doesn’t seem to have slowed this town down as much as one might think. There are many, many restaurants and stores that have remained open the whole weekend. In my cab ride last night, there were lots of cars on the road, and even a few brave – or unlucky – scooter riders. When Mo drove me home this afternoon, there were even more cars on the road. It’s just crazy, especially given the fact that, despite the storm traveling through northern Taiwan, it’s our beloved southern part of the island that has by far sustained the most flooding and damage.
Meanwhile, The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch for five countries after a massive 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit the Indian Ocean, though the warning was later lifted.
Japan was struck by a 6.6-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday and a 7.1-magnitude earthquake on Sunday. The quake was centered well offshore, deep under the Pacific Ocean. Japan is highly vulnerable to earthquakes and is struck by about 20 percent of the world’s quakes. Experts put the chances of an earthquake centered near Tokyo at 70 percent in the next couple of decades and warn that thousands could die.
A blogger at “Shibuya” in Japan shares that worry:
Japan experiences many earthquakes every year and most are not too strong. The one everyone is worried about is if a huge earthquake were to hit the center of Tokyo.
Whilst most apartment buildings and office buildings have been constructed under some strict earthquake resistant guidelines, there are still many older structures which may not stand up so well under the ultimate stress test.