Typhoon ‘worst in 50 years’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

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

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

SUNK: A de­stroyed home lies par­tially sub­merged in a river in Gaushu town­ship af­ter Typhoon Mo­rakot swept through south­ern Tai­wan last week­end.

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