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21 Dead as Typhoon Nari Hits Taiwan - 2001-09-17

Slow moving Typhoon Nari was plowing through Taiwan Monday, bringing torrential rains and gale force winds. Twenty-one people have been killed in weather-related accidents and floods. Another 23 are reported missing. The weather has also grounded planes and forced the closure of financial markets in Taipei.

The eye of Typhoon Nari hit the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, around daybreak Monday, causing flooding and mudslides. Residents in Taipei suburbs saw floodwaters rise so quickly, that many people were unable to escape from their ground-level floors.

Several victims were reported to have drowned in their sleep. Some were buried in mudslides and a number were electrocuted by exposed wiring. Scores were injured, including rescue workers.

More than 800,000 homes lost electricity, and thousands of residents were evacuated from flooded areas. Taipei's financial markets were closed as were schools and most businesses. At Taipei's international airport planes were grounded. Train and sea travel was also disrupted.

Y.C. Chan, a weather forecaster at Kong Kong's observatory says Nari has weakened since making landfall. "Tropical Typhoon Nari has weakened from a tropical cyclone to a tropical storm today, and its estimated maximum winds has also been weakened from 150 kilometers per hour to 75 kilometers per hour. ... Disrupted weather is still expected overnight in the Taiwan area," said the forecaster.

Typhoon Nari is the second deadly typhoon to hit Taiwan this season. In late July, Typhoon Toraji left 200 people dead and caused more than $6 billion in damage.