Typhoon Morakot

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Typhoon Morakot on the coast of Taiwan
photo by Wally Santana

Nearly two weeks ago Typhoon Morakot, which also caused damage on the east coast of China and in the northern Phillipines, produced the worst flooding Taiwan had experienced in a half century. The cost in human suffering is tremendous, not just in the immediate injuries, deaths, loss of loved ones and property, but in the longer reach of damage to areas of rich agricultural production. Some of the areas hardest hit by the deluge contain tea farms.

“This is where our ‘gourmet tea’ is from. A large portion of Taiwanese teas are from mid south part of Taiwan (like Nantou, Jiayi), especially the high mountain ones. However, this is also the fragile region of Taiwan. Whenever there’s typhoon, heavy rain, or even the tragic 921 earthquake, these places always got seriously damaged.

On the one [hand] … Read Morehand, high mountain teas are geologically negative to the land, on the other hand, these teas are the value products people on this land count on. Sad, but I know Taiwanese people are strong. They will build their homes back. God bless Taiwan.”

– Fiona, auraTeas

I don’t have enough information to speculate on the total impact on the Taiwanese tea industry, but of course I hope for the best possible recovery time and also for aid to come to those in need.

auraTeasauraTeas, which sells a number of wonderful teas from Taiwan along with teas from other regions, has generously decided to donate half of their tea sales in August to victims of Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan. I encourage you to consider making a purchase before the end of the month. Two of my personal favorites among their offerings are Organic Rou Kuei Oolong (有機肉桂烏龍) and Formosa Natural Wuhe Honey Black Tea (舞鶴自然蜜香紅茶-花蓮,台灣).

Additional information about the typhoon can be found here and here

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4 Comments

  1. You’re one of very few tea websites to even mention this typhoon and it’s heavy damage to prime tea-growing area of Taiwan. A similarly damaging storm hit the heavy producing valleys of Darjeeling in May, but there was dashed little comment on it within the tea community. The agricultural devastation in Taiwan was a magnitude of order worse than that in Bengal highlands.

    As AuraTeas alludes, teas are grown on steep hillsides that are prone to heavy erosion and mudslides when excessive rainfall occurs (typically during major storm events, but it can also happen during an unusually wet rainy season). Land development that includes incorrect irrigation drainage, poorly designed and constructed roads, and precariously balanced and densely populated tea garden villages nearby add to the risk of hillside failure in tea growing regions that are also becoming ‘tea tourist’ destinations.

    • It seems terribly important to me to acknowledge that the tea industry doesn’t exist in a vacuum, that current events can have tremendous impact on growers and producers. I wanted to write about the destruction in Darjeeling when it happened, but I was thwarted by the lack of reliable information on the effect on the tea growing region. I ended up not writing about it because I didn’t think I had enough trustworthy references to lend credibility to the story.

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