Death Toll Mounts As Typhoon Soudelor Loses Strength

Typhoon Soudelor, at one point a super-typhoon and the largest storm of the 2015 season, has begun to lose steam. Though Soudelor may not be actively terrorizing nations with its once high winds, torrential rains, and violent tornado activity, the aftermath of the storm is overwhelming, and residents of areas hit by typhoon Soudelor, are just beginning to realize the long road that lies ahead of them.

Typhoon Soudelor first hit the Mariana Islands last week, ripping apart Saipan with 105 mph winds.

Once Soudelor had its way with Saipan, it moved toward Taiwan and coastal China, picking up speed along the way.

Soudelor reached the status of a Category 5 hurricane with winds topping out at 180 mph before making landfall in Taiwan and devastating the island.

High winds shredded trees, toppled power lines, and ripped roofs from homes. Torrential rains from Soudelor have left Taiwan ravaged, as severe flooding is widespread, turning the once lush island into a patchwork of brown, murky pools divided only be sections of elevated roadway and clusters of debris.

“Fuzhou [China] received slightly over 300 mm (12 inches) from Soudelor as of Sunday evening,” said meteorologist Eric Leister, according to AccuWeather. “Fuding received close to 300 mm, with 180 mm (7 inches) falling on Jiuxion Shan.”

Mudslides are a major concern in both Taiwan and coastal China, as rivers are beyond their capacity due to the heavy rains associated with Soudelor; their banks washed away, and their overflow running rampant through cities and towns, taking everything in its path, including lives.

Seventeen are confirmed dead in China, with 3.1 million people there having been affected by typhoon Soudelor, according to CNN.

Seven have died in Taiwan, with 402 injured, and many people missing.

There are only preliminary guesses as to the monetary cost of the devastation that has befallen the area, but monetary costs and the death toll are sure to climb, as flood waters begin to recede and residents start digging themselves out of the mud where there used to be homes and businesses.

Most areas touched by typhoon Soudelor have been without electricity for some time. Survivors of the storm are also faced with a lack of food and clean water.

Approximately 600 U.S. Marines and sailors have been sent to the area to help with aid. They are delivering 10,000 pounds of Red Cross relief goods to those in need and are assisting with the delivery and distribution of water and Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) to the Mariana Islands, according to a report in the MarineCorpsTimes.

[Image courtesy of ChinaFotoPress/GettyImages]