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Hundreds may be trapped by Morakot in Taiwan village
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Rescuers continued their search well into the night yesterday at a village situated in the mountains of southern Kaohsiung in Taiwan, where it was feared that nearly 1,000 villagers may be trapped or buried by a landslide triggered by Typhoon Morakot.

"We have so far found 43 people and airlifted 32 of them from Hsiaolin village," said Huang Chi-min, director of a local emergency services agency.

Huang said a rescue unit dispatched a helicopter to search for survivors after reports that the village, located in the southern county of Kaohsiung, was buried in a landslide.

A survivor told the rescuers he believed more than 100 other villagers were either trapped or buried by the rockslide, but according to census authorities, more than 1,000 people had registered their households in the village. Huang said the rescue unit would continue to search for survivors.

In the central county of Nantou, police yesterday recovered the body of a man believed to be one of eight victims trapped in five cars washed away by flash flooding on Sunday.

A major bridge in the southern county of Pingtung collapsed Saturday, sending two vehicles with three passengers plunging into the torrent, police said.

By yesterday, waist-high floodwaters were reported in some low-lying areas in southern and eastern Taiwan after Morakot dumped a record 2.5 m of rain in the region.

The council of agriculture yesterday estimated at least $128 million in agricultural losses so far.

Flood victims would be given long-term low-interest loans to help them rebuild farm facilities and housing, it said.

At least 20,432 hectares of farmland have been inundated or damaged by heavy winds.

Morakot caused many rivers within the mountainous areas to overflow their riverbanks, causing heavy flooding in lowland areas downstream.

Morakot also slammed into provinces on the eastern coast of the mainland on Sunday and caused huge damage.

(China Daily August 11, 2009)

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