Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 18:26 UK

Eyewitness: Pacific storms

Cangnan, Zhejiang, China. Photo: Adam Smith
Adam Smith, China: "I woke to a silent city with water everywhere"

Two strong storms across the Pacific have left scores of people dead or missing. Tropical storm Etau has triggered flash flooding in Japan while Typhoon Morakot has battered Taiwan and south-eastern China.

People from the region have been contacting the BBC.


I'm here on business and took a taxi into Cangnan - and the coming typhoon - on Friday. It was starting to look cloudy as we drove in, but we hadn't seen the news so didn't know what was going to hit us.

Cangnan, Zhejiang, China. Photo: Adam Smith
People are making the best of the bad situation. There doesn't seem to be any sense of panic

I hardly slept on Sunday as the most horrific storm shook the town. I could feel the strength of the gale and was scared that the windows might cave in. I lay in bed fully clothed, with my bags packed - ready to move.

I woke on Monday to a silent city with water everywhere. I'm basically stuck on an island of higher land, so haven't been able to go far. My colleagues in a different hotel have fared worse - they lost power and some had water in the bedrooms.

It looks like the aftermath is going to be worse for the locals as the water just doesn't seem to be receding. I'm very lucky to be on dry ground. It's obvious that some families just can't get away from the water.

But people are making the best of the bad situation. There doesn't seem to be any sense of panic or greed. Instead, people are helping each other, sharing food. One man offered me some dried noodles.

I even saw someone go by in a dragon boat, delivering food parcels to those stuck in difficult places.


Wenzhou. Photo: Doug mcFarlane
Doug says Wenzhou is getting back to normal

I'm here with my wife, a guest teacher with the Chinese foreign ministry. We were told to remain in the hotel all day on Sunday as the region was on high alert.

The weather improved very quickly yesterday evening. The rain went from driving to calm so we were able to get to a supermarket. The locals seemed pretty unconcerned and certain today would be fine.

The storm hit on a Sunday which meant most city people chose to stay in.

Small businesses closed down and I guess some were flooded as many people operate out of ground-floor units. It's generally the poor who suffer most in natural disasters. The news reports a 200m yuan ($30 million) loss of business due to Marokot.

Life looks pretty normal now on the face of it. I took a four-hour walk and I saw little destruction - just a few uprooted trees and some broken glass. But some of the old buildings are really dilapidated and they are a problem. A four-year-old boy died here when one collapsed.

Around Wenzhou there are some towns in valleys particularly prone to the floods - Cangnan in particular. Wenzhou is full of canals and waterways - but none seemed at a critical level this morning.


It looked like the rain would never stop

We had very strong winds and heavy rains for three consecutive days - it looked like it would never stop.

But Hsinchu seems to have fared better than other regions of Taiwan.

I work in a hard disk factory. Power outages meant our production lines came to a halt twice. We went back to work on Saturday but had to make up for the 24 hours we lost.

Now, the weather is nice and calm.

Before the typhoon hit we were afraid of water shortages. But our biggest problems now are flooding and landslides

The cycles of drought and flooding have troubled us for several years, but the government had not done enough to prevent these events.

It is much worse in the south, where some are saying it's the biggest disaster in the last 50 years.


I am an Australian living and working in Beilun in the east of China.

Sandbags were put out in the compound where I live, and a considerable amount of rain fell overnight.

The workshop in which we work was shut for the weekend as it is below sea level and has been flooded before. I'm there now, and you can see that several trees were uprooted.

We make and paint steel here but we're unable to do any painting as the humidity is really high - it's been 94 and 97%.

We are expecting more bad weather. The typhoon season is officially under way.


It started raining heavily days before the actual eye of the typhoon hit the island.

If anything, people felt slightly irritated. Typhoons are not rare here. It is a bit like hurricanes in Miami - people expect them.

The real rain and wind started on Thursday 6 August. Wind chimes that people had left outside made such a noise through the night that it was impossible for people in many houses to sleep.

Chiayi, Taiwan. Photo: Adriana Ferrari
The real danger was loose objects flying through the air. A number of street lights could be seen wobbling or bent over to one side

At the same time you could hear the banging noises of flower pots and bikes falling over. I believe no one went outside to tie the wind chimes or take them down for fear of what might be going on outside.

From Thursday to Saturday people tried not to leave their houses. But the boredom meant some people braved the storm.

By the end of Saturday the wind had died down a bit and the typhoon had officially left the island. But the rain continued in the south.

I saw people outside their houses and shops using plastic brooms in an attempt to sweep away water. There were many fallen trees. A clean-up crew was at work in the storm.

The real danger was loose objects flying through the air. A number of street lights could be seen wobbling or bent over to one side. Some grocery shops were open, but most stores were closed tight. The few people I saw were all in cars.

Transportation systems have been badly affected. My friends who were on vacation in Kending in the south of the island were stuck there for three days until they were able to get a bus to the nearest village.

Chiayi, in the south-west, has received the most rainfall out of all the other cities in Taiwan. Miraculously, however, we have been spared major flooding in the city centre.

There is another tragedy - hardly anyone has typhoon insurance. The property that is destroyed is gone forever.

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