After Typhoon Nepartak – Red Cross volunteers take to the streets

Published: 10 July 2016 2:25 CET

The clean up operation in Taiwan is well underway after Typhoon Nepartak struck the island last week. Volunteers from the Taiwan Red Cross Organization (TRCO) have been on the streets of Taitung helping locals remove debris and fallen trees.

The city, on the east coast of Taiwan, bore the brunt of the super typhoon when it made landfall early on Friday morning. Winds reaching 175mph overturned cars, ripped up trees and severely damaged buildings. The accompanying rainfall – more than 600mm in some parts – sparked fears of deadly landslides and mudslides.

“The damage is much worse than I ever imagined,” said Kenny Kou, director of disaster relief at TRCO. “Not only has the typhoon damaged buildings and infrastructure, but it has severely affected people’s livelihoods. “We met with farmers this morning whose fruit trees have been destroyed. They’re going to have to dig them up and plant new ones, which means they will not have any fruit to sell for a long time.”

Volunteers from the Taitung branch of the TRCO began removing trees and debris from the roads as soon as the typhoon had passed.

Ray Chen, a volunteer of three years, said: “When the typhoon came I knew that the damage was going to be huge. “I wasn’t scared. The only thing on my mind was to help people. We’ve had training for this situation and I wanted to put it to good use.”  

Three people were killed by the typhoon and 331 were injured.

For updates on the typhoon and other Red Cross operations in the Asia Pacific region, follow @IFRCAsiaPacific