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Morakot's death toll hits 103 in Taiwan

[ 2009-08-13 10:44]     字号 [] [] []  
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At least 103 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds remain missing as rescue workers in Taiwan search for survivors in the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot.

Another 45 people have been injured as Morakot wreaked havoc across its central and southern regions. It is the worst typhoon to hit the island in nearly five decades.

The death toll included three rescuers on board a helicopter that crashed Tuesday during a disaster-relief mission in southern Pingdong county. Their bodies were found Wednesday morning.

Rescuers have found nearly 1,000 people alive in the area around three remote villages devastated by Morakot, which pummeled the island over the weekend, Taiwan's military said.

Hundreds more are missing and feared dead in Kaohsiung county, which bore the brunt of the storm.

While other areas of the country were hit hard, rescuers were focusing their efforts on Kaohsiung, believing most of those unaccounted for could be trapped there. But continuing heavy rains hampered their efforts.

On Wednesday, a few dozen army helicopters were able to ferry survivors to safety in Cishan, where a makeshift landing zone was set up at a school. The day before, 300 people who escaped mudslides were plucked from Shiao Lin village and its surroundings.

Since that rescue, another 270 people have been spotted near the village, which was destroyed by a mudslide on Sunday. The village is a major concern for relief officials, as it has been cut off from the outside world since Sunday's mudslides.

Outside Taiwan, Typhoon Morakot also claimed 22 lives in the Philippines.

After pummeling Taiwan, Morakot slammed into Fujian province, bringing heavy rain and winds of 119 km per hour, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

Authorities ordered 1.5 million people to leave the area, sending them to schools, government offices, hospitals and the homes of relatives, where they will remain until the rain stops and waters recede, the Civil Affairs Ministry has said.

Hundreds of roads and bridges on the island have been destroyed by floods, and disaster-relief centers have dispatched helicopters to transport villagers and air-drop goods in those regions. On Wednesday, 27 bridges and 69 main roads remained blocked or impassable.

In parts of central-south Taiwan where water has started to retreat, people are returning to repair homes and infrastructure, local media reported.

People from a wide range of social sectors including government, enterprises, entertainment and TV stations have donated cash and goods worth millions of yuan to support the disaster-relief work in the island.

On Wednesday, member companies of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits donated more than 100 million yuan ($14.6 million) and 5 million HK dollars ($645,000) for the island's typhoon relief.

The Red Cross Society of China also offered 15 million yuan to the island's Red Cross organization.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Morakot's death toll hits 103 in Taiwan

About the broadcaster:

Morakot's death toll hits 103 in Taiwan

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.