08/11/2009, 00.00
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Taiwan: village swallowed by mud, over 600 missing

Even the roofs of the village were submerged. The torrential rains of typhoon Morakot cause landslides throughout the island and the coast of China. Two dead in China, damages for hundreds of millions of euros. In Japan at least 13 deaths from the storm Etau.
Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The search is still on for the over 600 people missing from the village of Hsiaolin, in the mountainous county of Kaohsiung (Southern Taiwan), who disappeared under a river of mud this morning that swallowed the town. Across the island and the coasts of China there have been landslides and mudslides as a result of typhoon Morakot that scourged the region in recent days.

In the village of Hsiaolin 600 of the 1,000 inhabitants are still missing. People are digging through the mud. The roads are cut off, relief aid has to be dropped by helicopters that are also trying to ferry survivors to safety. They describe their horror at seeing the entire mountain crash down upon their village, swallowing it up.  The roofs of the houses are no longer even visible.

Torrential rains brought by the typhoon caused landslides in Taiwan and the Chinese coast, with overflowing rivers and flooding. The worst hit area was Taiwan, a highly populated agricultural area.

The typhoon lost most of it’s power before reaching the coast of China. Even here there have been floods and landslides, but much less severe, with two deaths reported in Pengxi, Taishun County (Zhejiang), under an avalanche of earth that buried several houses. The authorities had evacuated some 1.4 million people from the coastal zone. The storm has destroyed more than 6 thousand homes and caused damage amounting to 9 billion Yuan (about 900 million euros).

The storm Etau, which followed the path of the typhoon, reached Japan, a few hours after Tokyo had been hit by a strong earthquake. The violent rains have so far caused 13 deaths and 15 missing in the prefectures of Hyogo and Okayama, western Japan.

In recent days, the typhoon had already killed over 80 people, including 41 in Taiwan and 23 in the Philippines. It has caused an estimated 5 billion Taiwan dollars (100 million euro) damage to Taiwan.



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