In the wake of Typhoon Haikui’s relentless assault, Taiwan awoke to scenes of devastation, as the tempestuous typhoon unleashed its fury upon the island. Toppled trees, rampant flooding, and ceaseless rainfall bore witness to the cataclysmic aftermath of Haikui’s landfall, particularly along Taiwan’s central mountain ranges.
While initially appearing to recede, Haikui executed a disconcerting about-face, striking Taiwan anew with a second landfall in the southwestern city of Kaohsiung. This meteorological upheaval compelled authorities to reclassify Haikui as a severe tropical storm, albeit not before leaving an indelible mark of destruction in its wake.
Despite the tempest’s ferocity, no casualties were reported; however, the toll on the island’s infrastructure and landscape was unmistakable. Coastal Taitung, an enigmatic and sparsely populated mountainous enclave in eastern Taiwan, bore the brunt of Haikui’s relentless onslaught.
Chen Hai-feng, a venerable village chief in Taitung’s Donghe township, expressed his astonishment at the storm’s unrelenting gusts, declaring, “I’ve lived here for so long, and I have never seen such wind gusts.” Chen, alongside an early-morning work crew, embarked on the arduous task of clearing roads strewn with fallen trees.
Though Haikui was ostensibly considered less potent than its predecessors, Chen Hai-feng underscored that the tempest possessed a uniquely forceful character, remarking, “It came straight through us.”
Further north in Donghe, laborers valiantly transported colossal blocks to a coastal highway, a section of which had succumbed to partial collapse under the relentless onslaught of waves. The hope was that these concrete bulwarks would absorb the formidable impact of nature’s fury.
Haikui’s catastrophic reign precipitated the evacuation of over 7,000 residents across the island, particularly from precarious landslide-prone mountainous regions. The tempest’s relentless wrath spurred the cancellation of hundreds of flights and the shuttering of businesses.
Power outages afflicted more than 217,000 households temporarily, with 58,000 homes still bereft of electricity as Monday dawned. Torrential rains persistently lashed 14 cities, necessitating the continued closure of schools and businesses.
According to meteorologists at Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau, Haikui initially seemed poised to traverse the island and venture out to sea. However, it embarked on an unexpected second landfall in Kaohsiung around 4 a.m. local time, perpetuating the island’s torment.
During the night, the typhoon’s core exhibited an almost circular motion, tightly encircling Kaohsiung. Nevertheless, as Haikui navigated the rugged coastal terrain, its structural integrity weakened progressively, rendering it less menacing.
Local media outlets documented Kaohsiung’s inundated roads and the presence of uprooted trees strewn haphazardly across streets, further exemplifying the relentless deluge’s might.
While the human toll remained mercifully low, with approximately 80 minor injuries stemming mostly from fallen trees and vehicular mishaps, Haikui is far from relinquishing its grip. The tempest is poised to bestow its lingering fury upon the south and northeast regions of Taiwan, as well as the outlying islands of Kinmen and Penghu.