Living with typhoons: Disaster management in rural Taiwan

Yung-Fang Chen, Christopher Knight, Glen Burgin

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Typhoon Morakot was an extreme meteorological event that affected The Philippines, Taiwan and China in August 2009. A primary lesson from Typhoon Morakot was that isolated mountain communities such as those in The Namasia and Maolin valleys were unprepared for major typhoons. The pre-disaster hazard mitigation plans were disjointed and piecemeal. Human vulnerability to typhoons was not given due consideration as there was a lack of understanding of how the physical features would interact with the human population during a major typhoon. This research assesses, maps and determines the cause of the natural hazards and vulnerable features of The Namasia and Maolin valleys and analyses reconstruction housing projects and the organisational structure of the Taiwanese disaster management system. Shelter and settlement strategies emerged as key factors to determine the satisfaction rates of affected residents after a disaster. Taiwanese typhoon mitigation plans, response methods and the likely impacts of typhoons on rural communities in mountainous southern Taiwan are analysed in detail. It also records through one to one interviews, questionnaires and conversations the perceptions of some of those who remain in the valleys during typhoons and those whose responsibility it is to develop and apply typhoon mitigation plans in the area.
During events such as Typhoon Morakot there was a long term and significant breakdown of communication between central authorities and local inhabitants and this impacted severely on local inhabitants ability to prepare for and mitigate against a typhoon of Morakot's magnitude. It also opines geographical, religious, ethnic and political fractures within the area accentuate differences which then in turn heightens vulnerability of local residents in the region.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherRoyal Geographical Society with IBG
Number of pages185
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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