Well here we are, alive to tell the tale. That was definitely a storm to end all storms. What a night it was, and then what a day. 24 hours of non-stop torrential rains, almost apocalyptic winds that shook the walls and windows until it felt like the buildings were going to collapse or take off, debris crashing and banging and flying into everything, and a 10 hour power cut.
With no electricity, we had no TV News, and although we had mobile and 3G signals, the power soon ran out on the phone and power bank. So all we could do was sit and wait. And listen. And pray. With so much noise, screeching and crashing and banging it was inevitable that there was going to be much damage, injuries and possibly deaths.
There was. Much damage. And at least 6 deaths, 4 missing and almost 200 injured. Terrible. Terrible. Truly Terrible. Such tragedy.
Check out this article: Typhoon leaves six dead, 185 injured – Taipei Times.
Here in the far north of Taiwan, in Sanzhi 三芝 Town, it was rough. Felt almost like the end of the world was coming with those winds. And I live on the ground floor. Imagine what it was like for those 12 floors above me. Friends and neighbours were reporting in as very afraid. Afraid that the windows would blow in. Afraid trees would go down on their houses. Afraid for family and friends.
And yesterday was Father’s Day in Taiwan. So named because the date 8/8 is pronounced ba-ba in Chinese. At lunchtime yesterday there was a moment of calm, and out I went into the town. The only place with electricity was the bread and cake shop. They were doing a roaring trade in Father’s Day cakes. All sold out.
And then back home to wait out Typhoon Soudelor Part 2. By then the typhoon had already left Taiwan, but it wasn’t over yet ~ this was the sting in its tail.
The rains eased off. But the winds were worse. Gusts so strong that everything that hadn’t already blown off in the morning stood no chance now.
By this morning all was calm. Off I went to St John’s University to check out the damage. Loads of trees down, especially the banyans. Tons of debris – chairs, ceiling boards and signposts in the most unlikely places. And the wall and fence of the swimming pool badly damaged.
Actually it could have been a lot worse. A lot lot worse. But then, after so many years of typhoons, summer after summer, it’s kinda surprising that any tree remains standing upright in this part of the world. Still there are thousands upon thousands that have fallen down throughout the country during this typhoon. The road from here to St. John’s University is 5 miles, of, well, fallen trees, fallen signs and fallen everything. And if they’ve not actually fallen, they’re leaning over onto the road.
And my own house? Well, the back window used to have a sloping roof of aluminum sheeting nailed onto some wood supports to keep the sun and rain off. That flew off in the typhoon. Then the bathroom ceiling fell in. Quite an achievement really considering the bathroom doesn’t even have a window. But above the ceiling is a cavity where the wind gets in, and it brought the whole lot down. End result, the noise coming from the bathroom as the wind whooshed around inside was incredible, and the strength of the wind was so powerful that I couldn’t push open the door until it had all calmed down….
So there you have it. Today is Sunday and off we all went to Advent Church this morning, grateful to God for his mercy and that we all survived, many with tales to tell, and photos to show. And yes, we celebrated Father’s Day – here’s all the fathers in our church!
And then we all went home to clean up all the mess. Guess that might take days and weeks, there’s a lot to do.
Thank you for your prayers. Please continue. The typhoon may have gone, but the devastation remains. People were killed, missing and injured. Damage to property and to agriculture is huge. But God was merciful, we were spared the worst.
And guess what? In Taipei 101, the highest building in Taiwan, and one of the highest in the world, is a huge ‘damper’ that looks like a massive ball and it swings to and fro in typhoons or earthquakes to keep the building upright. Yesterday in the strongest winds at 7:00am, it was swaying by 2 metres. Amazing. Just glad I wasn’t up there at the time!