08/14/2009, 00.00
TAIWAN
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Taipei, Morakot death toll “over 500”

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou admits for first time to number of deaths. Government agency speaks of "more than 390 people buried alive" in the village of Hsiaolin in the south of the island, the hardest hit by the typhoon. Political controversy mounts overt delays and inefficiency in relief.

Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The victims of Morakot may be more than 500, in the village where the passage of the typhoon has caused most damage rescuers feared that more than 390 people have been "buried alive". The emergency continues in Taiwan, struck last weekend by a tropical storm, the worst affected area was theof the island, where rivers of mud buried houses, roads and bridges.

President of Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou, says to expect a number of victims to be “more than 500". Currently the official death toll stands at 117 dead, but an officer from the National Fire Agency - involved in relief operations - says that "more than 390 people could be buried alive" in the village of Hsiaolin, the hardest hit by the typhoon.  

Morakot made landfall on Taiwan last weekend, releasing about two meters of rain. This is the worst flood of the last 50 years. Damages to agriculture exceeds 200 million dollars, thousands of homes are without light or water.

In the village of Hsiaolin hundreds of people were taken to safety by helicopters sent by the government. In Taiwan, meanwhile, political controversy is brewing; yesterday the internal opposition and survivors of the tragedy accused the president of "inefficiency" in rescue operations, which further aggravated the death toll.

 
 
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