Typhoon Doksuri Wreaks Havoc Across Southeast Asia

The calamitous Typhoon Doksuri has barreled through several parts of Southeast Asia, leaving a swath of destruction in its wake. From deadly landslides in the Philippines to significant infrastructural damage in China, the storm’s devastating path has culminated in numerous deaths and widespread displacement.

The Philippines: Tragic Landslides and Fatal Ferry Incident

For the people of the Philippines, the impact of Typhoon Doksuri has been particularly harrowing. The storm began its furious rampage in Luzon, the country’s largest and most populous island. Landslides, flooding, and toppled trees led to the tragic loss of 13 lives. The precarious weather conditions also led to a horrendous ferry incident in Laguna Lake, southeast of Manila. As the typhoon-induced winds buffeted the ferry, panic ensued, causing the passengers to rush to one side, subsequently capsizing the vessel. As per the latest reports, this disaster claimed 26 lives with 40 others being rescued, a horrifying addition to the casualties from the typhoon. The boat was significantly overcrowded, holding at least 66 passengers, despite being designed for a capacity of 42, CNN reported. Philippine officials have indicated that charges will be filed against the boat’s operator and captain.

Response and Recovery

  • Power outages across major regions and significant agricultural damage have disrupted normal life in the archipelagic country.
  • Over 20 people are still missing, with the search-and-rescue operation ongoing.
  • Several areas have suspended work, school, and sea travel in light of the disaster.

China and Taiwan: Power Outages and Mass Evacuation

After ravaging the Philippines, Typhoon Doksuri, packed with winds of up to 175 kilometers per hour (108 mph), made landfall on China’s southeastern coast, particularly affecting the province of Fujian and parts of Taiwan. More than 724,600 people were affected in China, with more than 400,000 having been evacuated as a safety measure. Coastal cities such as Xiamen, Quanzhou, and Zhangzhou suspended activities in businesses, factories, and schools, while widespread power cuts added to the crisis. The roof of a sports stadium in Quanzhou was torn off by the fierce storm, signifying the strength of Doksuri.

Response and Recovery

  • China raised its typhoon preparedness through text messaging and social media notices.
  • In Fujian, hundreds of ships returned to ports, and transportation was suspended.
  • The public was urged to stay indoors as the typhoon barreled through the region.

Taiwan: Disrupted Travel and Infrastructure Damage

The storm also significantly impacted Taiwan. Despite the island’s weather agency removing its highest rainfall warning, torrential rain and strong winds brought down trees and caused power outages affecting approximately 278,182 households. This resulted in one reported death and injuries to 68 people. Travel was severely disrupted with over 200 domestic and international flights being delayed or cancelled.

Aftermath and Forecast

Most typhoons tend to lose strength as they move into the mountainous interior regions of China, although they sometimes linger, causing heavy rainfall. However, Typhoon Doksuri defied this pattern, strengthening over the water after leaving the Philippines. This makes Doksuri one of the strongest storms to hit China this year, with its impact likely felt for the foreseeable future.

According to Chinese state media, Doksuri has caused direct economic losses amounting to 52.27 million yuan ($7.3 million), primarily due to the impact the storm has had on farmland.

Climate Context

Typhoons, also known as severe tropical cyclones, are a frequent occurrence in the Northwest Pacific region. The same type of storm is referred to as a hurricane in the Northeast Pacific and Northern Atlantic. The increase in these tropical cyclones’ frequency and intensity is a pressing concern in the face of climate change.