‘There are no crops to celebrate’: climate crisis wipes out a way of life in Taiwan’s mountains
Countless landslides in Nantou county are disrupting ancient agricultural traditions, leading some to wonder how much longer they can continue to cling to the steep slopes they call home.
Landslides are not uncommon in Taiwan, the whole island is in a hot zone for typhoons and earthquakes. However, mountain communities like Nantou are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather, and things are getting worse amid the climate crisis. This was the fourth time since 2000 that the service station had been hit and some are beginning to wonder how much longer their traditional way of life can continue.
“There is nothing to harvest,” says Wang Wan-quan, a 70-year-old farmer in Nang Feng village in Nantou. “They were all destroyed by typhoons, covered by landslides, and damaged by heavy rain. We can’t celebrate anything. There are no crops to celebrate.”
Climate scientists say changing weather patterns are making typhoons, known elsewhere as cyclones or hurricanes, much more intense. A 2016 study published in Nature found the proportion of storms of categories 4 and 5 hitting east and south-east Asia had doubled or even tripled in the preceding four decades.
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