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Typhoon Toraji

From Pietro and Mark
Hua-lien, Taiwan

Mark (left) and Pietro with a survivor in front of what is left of her home.

Typhoon Toraji hit Taiwan on July 30, causing serious damage from flooding and landslides. We were among the first volunteers to arrive at one of the hardest-hit villages, near the city of Hua-lien. A landslide had buried a large part of the village in the early morning, while people were sleeping.

Twenty-four people died and fifteen were still missing and presumed dead, buried under tons of mud and rock. At the time of this report, the 200 families—about 1,000 people—in this village are still without water and electricity. The homeless are staying in a school building that was left standing.

At a distribution point, we unloaded the vanload of food and clothing we had brought, and then spent the rest of the day providing grief counseling to villagers who had lost loved ones in the disaster.

Originally Published in 2001.