Severe Flooding Hits Capital of Taiwan

By Oscar Cheng-Kai, Wu


A storm has caused flash flooding in the Taiwanese capital. According to local media and several sources, no casualties have been reported, but the flooding is disrupting daily life. The Stand spoke to a professor who specializes in urban planning to understand the issue.

Charles Lee, a sociology student from the National Taiwan University, said that “It is dangerous to ride my motorbike on those flooding sections because it either risks the whole bike to shut down due to water cooling, or me falling down on the slippery ground and thus injuring myself. So I decided to take a walk, though it takes about one hour instead of 15 minutes on normal days.”

It is estimated that more than 4 inches of water poured into the city. Some regions in the city had been choked by 2 inches of muddy water.

Flash flooding had spilled over the surface and almost reached the entrance of underground tunnels. Many entrances and exits of the system had been closed by the Metro Rapid Transit, Taipei’s subway system beforehand.

Some of the city’s areas reported extreme traffic congestion. In other flooded regions, people were trapped on isle-like high grounds, waiting for the water that surrounded them to draw away.

Vun Kong-Ti, a NTU student who majors in politics said: “Luckily, I avoided the flooding by staying on high ground that night.”

Kong-Ti later told the Stand about what should be done in order to free the city from the curse of occasional flooding, “The city needs a revolutionary renovation that does focus on reducing the impact of the inevitable future flooding on people’s daily life.”

Professor Liao Kuei-Hsien, who specializes in urban planning and water management, offers her assessment of the cause: “The infrastructure is outdated and only serves the purpose of guiding the water out as rapidly as possible. But it no longer works in times of extreme downpouring like this.”

“We spend a lot of budget on transforming the river in order to guide the current. By removing obstacles along the river, we actually make things worse because it will result in the flash flooding in the downstream which is exactly the problem that our capital has” she said.

She suggested there should be a shift of perception for both policymakers and ordinary people: “The authority should review the spatial planning and people’s perceptions need to change.” she also suggested. “People need to accept flooding is actually inevitable during times like this and adjust their lifestyle to a more flooding-resilient fashion.”