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Taiwan - Typhoon Morakot

Death toll will rise above 500, President warns

Article published on the 2009-08-14 Latest update 2009-08-14 11:16 TU

A resident glides across a flooded river on a cable while evacuating the village of Sinkai on Friday.(Photo: Reuters)

A resident glides across a flooded river on a cable while evacuating the village of Sinkai on Friday.
(Photo: Reuters)

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has warned the death toll from the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot will probably rise above 500 as fears mount for those missing. Rescuers are battling to reach over 15,000 people still trapped in mountain villages nearly one week after the typhoon triggered the island's worst floods in half a century.

The typhoon dumped more than three metres of rain, setting off flooding and mudslides that tore through houses and buildings, ripped up roads and smashed bridges.


"With 117 confirmed deaths from the typhoon and some 380 people feared buried by mudslides in Hsiaolin village, Taiwan's death toll could rise to more than 500," President Ma Ying-jeou told a national security meeting.


More than 50,000 troops have had to cross raging rivers and fallen bridges to reach victims across southern and central Taiwan, many of whom are without food and water. Dozens of helicopters have been criss-crossing the mountains and ravines of the region delivering food and water, and airlifting survivors.


But Ma's administration has been criticised for being too slow to see the magnitude of the crisis in which hundreds of villages were cut off by mudslides, leaving them only accessible by air.


As anger over the government's response mounted, Ma vowed the whole nation would mobilise to help the victims. The scale of the crisis has overwhelmed the authorities and many victims have complained they have received no help since the typhoon struck.












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