Tropical storm kills three in Taiwan

Tropical storm kills three in Taiwan

TAIPEI - At least three people were killed when torrential rain brought by Tropical Storm Kong-Rey caused widespread flooding in the south of Taiwan, the government said Friday.

A 20-year-old man riding a motorcycle drowned after he fell into a gutter in southern Pingtung county while a 50-year-old woman was electrocuted in western Yunlin area, according to the National Fire Agency, which coordinates rescue efforts.

Also in Yunlin, another woman died trying to get to work during the storm, the agency and reports said.

Houses and streets in the south were inundated by floodwater as deep as three metres (almost 10 feet) when Kong-Rey pounded the island with heavy rains on Thursday, disrupting traffic, power supplies and forcing offices and schools to close.

Television footage showed rescuers in rubber boats helping evacuate people to safety while cars were stranded in roads that were submerged in several southern counties in some of the worst flooding in the region in recent years.

The storm also caused Tw$187 million ($6.23 million) in agricultural damage in the south, as more than 3,500 hectares (8,600 acres) of rice paddies and orchids were destroyed or damaged, said the Council of Agriculture.

In July, typhoon Soulik lashed the island with powerful winds and downpours that left two people dead and at least 100 injured while Tropical Storm Trami forced authorities to close offices and cancel nearly 200 international flights last week.

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