Over 500 tourists stranded in Taiwan due to typhoon ‘Megi’

Friday, October 22, 2010

TAIPEI - More than 500 tourists have been stranded in Taiwan due to heavy rains caused by typhoon “Megi” since Thursday, with 19 being out of contact and a tourist bus being stuck in a caved-in section of road, Taiwan tourism authorities said.

According to Xinhua, of the 559 tourists, 290 were lifted out of danger by Friday noon. Rescue teams have been transporting food by foot over the caved-in roads to the stranded people.

China-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Friday called on Taiwan authorities to “make all-out efforts” to save stranded mainland tourists.

Taiwan meteorological department said heavy rains and strong winds will continue to wreak havoc in the northeastern part of the island Friday, while Saturday would see the rains easing.

China’s southern provinces, including Hainan, Guangdong, Jiangxi and Fujian, are bracing for heavy rains and strong winds as the typhoon is expected to hit the coastal area.

DPA reported, Taiwan Friday sent helicopters to rescue some 400 tourists stranded on a mountain highway following a landslide caused by Typhoon Megi.

Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau said the tourists - including 230 Chinese tourists on 12 coaches - have been stranded along the Suhua Highway on Taiwan’s east coast since Thursday afternoon.

One coach, carrying 19 Chinese tourists and a Taiwan driver and guide, was reported missing.

“We have been trying to contact them since 4 p.m. yesterday, but the calls were not returned. We have asked the Chinese travel agency to ask the tourists’ relatives to call them on cell phones,” said Wu Chao-ping the manager of the group’s travel agency.

Another coach carrying 21 Chinese tourists was hit by a large boulder, but the tourists escaped by smashing the windows, although the driver and the tour leader remain trapped, the Tourism Bureau said.

Rescue efforts were hampered by bad weather as rain continued to fall on most parts of Taiwan, brought by Megi which is heading towards China after slamming the Philippines.

“We must rush food, clothing and raincoats to those stranded on the Suhua Highway. If necessary, the military will send special forces,” President Ma Ying-jeou said.

Megi, while moving from the Philippines toward southern China, shifted northward Thursday, affecting Taiwan.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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