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19 killed in Taiwan by Kalmaegi
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Kalmaegi has killed 19 people and injured another eight, while six remain missing after the typhoon started lashing Taiwan last Thursday, an official from the island's fire agency said Sunday.

"Most of the deaths occurred at the central and southern parts of Taiwan. These people were either washed away by floods, buried in landslides or drowned," the official said.

Kalmaegi, a Korean word meaning seagull, is the first typhoon to hit Taiwan this year. It brought heavy rains that caused floods, landslides and agricultural losses of about NT$500 million ($16 million) throughout the island, the official said.

Rescuers evacuate people stuck in a flood as Typhoon Kalmaegi hits Taichung county July 18, 2008. [Agencies]

The island's weather bureau said parts of the south had recorded up to 100 cm of rain, much higher than its original prediction of up to 35 cm.

The island's disaster relief center Sunday raised the death toll from 13 to 19.

It said mudslides buried two houses in Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, killing seven people.

Rampaging waters had reportedly washed away most of the other victims.

Television footage showed a broken bridge in Nantou county in central Taiwan, collapsed houses in the mountains and people wading through the floods.

Kalmaegi left Taiwan on Friday and was weakening over the Chinese mainland after being downgraded to a tropical storm.

Scorching weather of up to 37 C also returned to Zhejiang province Sunday after the storm left the region with no casualties reported, the provincial weather station said.

Several cities in the eastern province, including Wenzhou, Taizhou, Ningbo and Zhoushan, had evacuated more than 232,500 people from low-lying areas as part of contingency plans.

The flood control and drought relief headquarters of the neighboring financial hub of Shanghai also announced that Kalmaegi had weakened as of early Sunday morning, with the meteorological station lifting the city's alert for rainstorms and gales.

(China Daily July 21, 2008)

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