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DisasterLink Country Profile: China-Taiwan

DisasterLink Partners

Taiwan at a Glance

Population: 23.3 Million (2022)
Major Threats: Floods, Earthquakes, Typhoons, Landslides, Drought
Populations Affected: Urban and Rural Communities
Locations Affected: Tainan, Kaohsiung, Taitung, Huailien, Chiayi, Nantou
Industries Affected: Agriculture, Hospitality, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Transportation
Compounding Issues: Water Shortages, Water Pollution, Drought, Livelihoods, Energy Outages, Environment
World Risk Index Ranking: 95
Global Climate Risk Index: 116 (2021)


Located in East Asia, Taiwan boasts a mountainous terrain and fertile volcanic soils that have enriched the region for centuries. These natural assets have gained recent recognition and are aligned with the green tourism program. This program aims to tap into the wealth of a rich culture and contribute to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It serves as a crucial component of the economic recovery plan following the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely disrupted international travel and caused a significant downturn in the hospitality industry.

Over the past decade, Taiwan has been grappling with the effects of global warming, with various climate disasters intensifying, prompting growing concerns among both the government and international agencies. What was predicted decades ago is now unfolding as a stark reality.

Major Threats and Economy

Geographically, Taiwan is located in a disaster-prone zone. Heavy rainfall, floods, typhoons, landslides, and droughts are Taiwan’s five most significant threats that have caused loss of life. 

In the early 1960s, Taiwan’s economic growth depended on its agricultural production sector, such as rice and sugar. In recent decades, that has shifted to become one of the world’s largest electronics producers, prompting foreign investment and resulting in initial industrialization. 

With such aggressive manufacturing expansion, a natural disaster is also considered a man-made disaster due to industrial development.  

Climate Change Impacts

In the past decade, the change in weather patterns has been felt with water sea level rise and the intensity of rain leading to flooding and debris flow. Taiwan depends on the annual rain season as a water supply for their reservoir to meet their country’s needs.  

However, increasing temperatures from climate change result in limited rainfall leading to extended drought in some areas. It is challenging for the government to address these issues to provide adequate solutions for farmers and residents, as well as industrial needs, as it consumes up to 19 percent of the country’s water.  

Hydrometeorological Vulnerability

Taiwan is vulnerable to hydrometeorological hazards, the changing weather patterns causing more and more damage to the country. Droughts occur more intensely, while less rain leads to water shortages. This affects farming and agriculture production. Floods and landslides followed by falling rock and debris are also triggered by heavy rainfall. 

Geophysical Vulnerability

Heavy rainfall triggered Taiwan’s 2022 floods and landslides, however, various earthquakes also contributed to landslides. The country was in a disaster-prone zone that experienced  836 earthquakes in 2022. Earthquakes occurring in Taiwan, are responsible for hundreds of fatalities and destruction to public facilities, blocked road access, and collapsed bridges, further isolating residents. 

Taiwan has a long history of earthquakes causing fatalities. In the late 90s, up to 2,000 people were killed and thousands more were injured, while in 2016, they killed at least 140 people. The recent earthquake in 2022 is responsible for up to 1 death and 170 residents injured in Taitung.  

Adaptation and Local Context

Taiwan has addressed climate change adaptation through the National Climate Change Action Guidelines in 2015. The aim was to provide long-term information and data related to climate adaptation and decision-making policy. Taiwan confidently committed to reducing gas emissions by up to 10 percent by 2025 as a five-year regulation. Further, the gas emission control action program targets six major sectors: energy, agriculture, environment, manufacturing, transportation, and residential and commercial buildings, which will be reviewed every five years. 

Taiwan has committed to continue promoting green solutions to climate adaptation issues, such as renewable energy sources, which aligns with the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development goals. The Net Zero Target of Taiwan is focused on 2050. 


Disaster mitigation, intervention, and prevention are critical in Taiwan in the face of global warming, which is expected to affect its economy further. There is a need for collaborative risk management and risk assessment for better disaster resiliency, and any action or investment should align with the six sectors mentioned above. 

Taiwan has invited global parties and key actors to minimize the losses and contribute to lowering global warming’s impact globally. 

Opportunities and Recommendations to International Donors

Apart from the six major sectors already mentioned, there are three main categories of disasters that need further attention: a) Natural disasters (floods, landslides, drought, typhoons, earthquakes); b) Technological disasters (water and air pollution, chemical hazards); and c) Environmental disaster (illegal logging, endangered biodiversity).  Other areas that may need support include: 

  • Agriculture  
  • Infrastructure and Construction Works 
  • Water Resourcing 
  • Disaster Risk Reduction Management 
  • Adaptation Knowledge 
  • Renewable Energy 
  • Forest Rehabilitation and Environmental Protection 
  • Livelihoods 
  • Continuous Support of Existing Programs 

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