Agricultural losses from typhoon reach NT$98.99 million

Estimated losses caused by Strong Typhoon Meranti, which battered southern Taiwan a day earlier, had reached NT$98.99 million (US$3.12 million), according to preliminary data compiled by the Council of Agriculture Thursday.

The impact of the typhoon on the island was at its worst on Wednesday, leaving 1 person dead and an additional 51 injured, and forcing schools and government offices in several cities and counties in southern Taiwan, such as Taitung, Pingtung and Kaohsiung, to close, as the storm moved through the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan.

As for the agricultural losses, the council said, Kaohsiung, the second-largest city in Taiwan, bore the brunt, with losses hitting NT$51.56 million, accounting for 52 percent of the total, the statistics show.

Taitung came in second, with losses totaling NT$19.24 million, making up 19 percent of the total, ahead of outlying Kinmen with NT$10 million in agricultural losses, 10 percent of the total, and Pingtung with losses of NT$9.99 million.

According to the council, crop losses islandwide totaled NT$88.91 million, with the remaining losses coming from damaged agricultural facilities.

In terms of individual agricultural items, banana growers suffered the heaviest losses, with 549 hectares damaged, at a cost of NT$22.85 million, the data shows. Growers of guavas, sugar apples and sorghum also suffered heavy losses, the statistics indicate.

The livestock sector faced NT$470,000 in damages, largely due to losses in chickens and pigs, while the fishery sector suffered NT$2.39 million in losses when grouper farms were damaged, the council said.

The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) had lifted land and sea warnings on Typhoon Meranti by Thursday as the storm was moving away from Taiwan to make landfall in China's Fujian Province.

Despite the lifting of the warnings, another typhoon -- Malakas -- is forecast to travel north off Taiwan's eastern coast and to affect the island later this week.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel