Taiwan suffered at least NT$685 million (US$21.61 million) in agricultural losses from Typhoon Meranti, which battered southern Taiwan earlier this week, according to the latest estimate released by the Council of Agriculture (COA) on Friday.
The figure rose from an earlier estimate of almost NT$600 million in losses released by the COA on Thursday.
Though the eye of the storm did not make landfall on Taiwan, passing through the Bashi Channel south of the island, Meranti's powerful winds and heavy rains pounded southern Taiwan on Wednesday, leaving one person dead and an additional 51 injured.
It also wreaked havoc with the region's farms. The COA said in its latest update that Kaohsiung's farmers were hardest hit by the storm, suffering at least NT$464 million in losses, or 68 percent of the national total.
Pingtung County, located south of Kaohsiung, suffered NT$180 million in losses, or 16 percent of the total, followed by outlying Penghu County with NT$45.94 million in losses and Taitung County in southeastern Taiwan with NT$21.47 million in losses, the COA said.
Crop damage accounted for most of the losses, according to the COA, with 7,456 hectares of farmland and NT$573 million worth of crops damaged.
Guava growers took the biggest hit, suffering crop losses of NT$247.64 million and damage to 1,602 hectares of farmland, COA data showed.
Growers of dates, banana, wax apples and tomatoes also suffered heavy losses, the statistics showed.
Damage to agricultural facilities and buildings was also heavy, totaling just over NT$105 million, according to the latest estimate.
Meranti moved away from Taiwan and made landfall in China on Thursday, but another storm is heading toward northern Taiwan, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
The bureau has issued both sea and land warnings for Typhoon Malakas, cautioning that the storm could bring strong winds and heavy rains to Taiwan.
As of 3:15 p.m., Malakas was centered 340 kilometers east-southeast of Hengchun in southern Pingtung County and was moving north-northwest at a speed of 19 kilometers per hour, the CWB said.
The typhoon is likely to move closest to Taiwan on Saturday and could even make landfall on Taiwan's northeastern coast, according to the latest projections of the typhoon's course.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel