Typhoon ‘worst in 50 years’
TAIPEI: Floods and mudslides unleashed by Typhoon Morakot last weekend have killed about 500 people on the island, Taiwan’s president said yesterday as he called on rescue crews to step up their efforts.
Morakot destroyed the homes of 7 000 people and caused damage in excess of $1.5 billion (R12bn), President Ma Ying-jeou said at a national security conference, the first called since he took office 15 months ago.
He called it the most severe damage to the island in more than 50 years. “While the rescue operation is still going on, we have started rehabilitation and reconstruction work, which is just as pressing as relief efforts but might be even more difficult and cumbersome,” Ma said.
Morakot dumped more than 2m of rain on the island last weekend and stranded thousands in villages in the south. About 15 400 villagers have been ferried to safety and rescuers are working to save another 1 900 people still stuck.
Ma said the death toll includes 120 confirmed deaths, and about 380 people believed to be buried in the debris of a landslide in Shiao Lin, the hardest-hit village. –AP
SUNK: A destroyed home lies partially submerged in a river in Gaushu township after Typhoon Morakot swept through southern Taiwan last weekend.