July 31, 2012

Apparently there’s another typhoon heading this way.

Looking over the Central Weather Bureau’s website (www.cwb.gov.tw), it seems like the typhoon will hit more the north area of Taiwan.  It isn’t expected to make landfall until about Wednesday, so I’m not overly concerned about it.

Living in Tainan, typhoons don’t really affect this area too much.  Sure, we get the rain and wind, but not the same as it seems to affect other areas.  A little over a month ago, a typhoon hit this area.  It was a rather odd typhoon, as it had come up through the Taiwan Strait.  Normally, typhoons that affect Taiwan come from the Pacific Ocean.  Tainan is in an area of Taiwan that is somewhat protected by the major brunt of typhoons.

I think I’m a little strange when it comes to natural occurring events, such as typhoons, blizzards, earthquakes…  I actually like them.  Sure, it’s unfortunate when these events have disastrous results, such as death, or homelessness, but there’s something ‘exciting’ about Mama Nature.

Although I’m not a lover of snow and cold weather, snowstorms that turn into blizzards, always sent a sense of awe through me.  I remember one year (grade 8 or grade 9 year), we were living in Granton, Ontario.  Granton is about 30 minutes north of London.  A putt-putt little village, that I still question my parents thought process about moving there.  However, it happened, and that’s that.

One winter, it snowed so heavily, that the snow was almost piled up to the second floor of buildings.  We were basically trapped in our homes for a good 3 or 4 days (maybe longer).  There was no electricity, and we were surviving on camping equipment to keep warm.  During that time, it was probably not the best of situations, but looking back, it was an adventure.  I have never seen as much snow since then.

Coming to Taiwan, was my first REAL exposure to earthquakes.  In Ottawa one time, we had an earthquake and again, shortly after moving to New Westminster, B.C., we had earthquakes.  By Canadian standards, I suppose they felt more like a truck had passed the house.

The earthquake in New West, was so slight, had it not been for the Christmas decorations swaying slightly, I wouldn’t have even known we had had an earthquake.  It was major news the next day, but compared to what I’ve felt here in Taiwan – nothing.

About a year after moving to Tainan, around lunchtime, I was taking my shower getting ready for my afternoon classes.  I was living on the 14th floor of my apartment building.  Suddenly, the bathroom started shaking.  I shut the water off, and crouched down in the tub so as not to loose my footing.

Once the shaking stopped, I went to see what damage had been done to the apartment.  Things had fallen off of shelves, and the fish tanks were still splashing around.  Unfortunately, due to the splashing around, some of my fish had been splashed out of the tank, behind the shelving.  There was absolutely no way of getting at them, and ultimately, the poor little things had perished behind the shelves.  It wasn’t until I moved out of that apartment that I could clean them up.

Another time, years later, we had had an earthquake that had scared my private student while we were in class.  Private students came to my home for their classes during that time.  She was a little frightened, but after chatting with her, and everything seeming to be back to normal, we continued with class.  Well, about 5 minutes later, a second earthquake shook the room.  The second one was a lot worse.  This time, she was so scared, she ran down to her dad, who was in the living room watching T.V. while we were doing class, and she ran into his arms and was crying.

Dad decided that the class would have to end early, as he couldn’t calm her down.  Again, to me, both of these earthquakes were exciting.

Taiwan has had its share of major earthquakes over the years.  In 1999, one earthquake that is still remembered by people who were around then as ‘921 Earthquake’, was a 7.1 earthquake.  It destroyed a lot of north central Taiwan, killed many people, destroying buildings and the cross-Taiwan highway.

Even though the epicenter was in the northern region, the effects were felt all over Taiwan.  I’ve heard stories of people here in Tainan, watching television that evening, and hearing a rumbling approaching.  Not really knowing what was happening, and then suddenly their homes shaking, it wasn’t until the following day that they learned the extent of the damage that had been caused.  Justifiably, many of these people are a little nervous when an earthquake shakes the area.

People in Taiwan also know the affects of typhoons.  Yes, I’ve seen the devastation over the years as well, however, since I don’t live in the mountainous regions, or in direct path of typhoons, and only feel the outer effects, they don’t bother me so much.  I do find the heavy rainfall intriguing, but I’ve never lived in an area that is directly affected by typhoons.

Natural occurrences are something that we as humans, are unable to control.  In some instances, such as blizzards and typhoons, we can predict their paths or outcome, but something like an earthquake… it’s not easy to predict the occurrence of an earthquake.  It happens, and there’s nothing we can do.  We can find areas of safety, or protect ourselves as best we can, but we can’t go outside and yell stop!

I suppose we’ll know more tomorrow.

That’s it, that’s it… for now!


1 Comment

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One response to “July 31, 2012

  1. Saying that the road to recovery from the devastating affects of Typhoon Morakot is as lengthy and difficult as it was for the earthquake, World Vision Taiwan said it will apply its experience in working in rural mountainous areas and in quake relief operations to help the Morakot survivors.

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