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Mudslide Buries Village in Taiwan, Fate of Hundreds Unknown


Taiwan officials say a mudslide triggered by heavy rains from Typhoon Morakot buried a mountain village in the southern part of the island. The fate of hundreds is unknown. The storm dumped as much as two meters of rain on the island before moving on to China.

Rescue helicopters made their way up into the mountains to reach Shiao Lin village, bringing food, water and supplies to those who survived the mudslide. Some have been transported to safety.

Leng Chia-yu, a spokesman at Taiwan's disaster response agency, says the fate of an estimated 500 people who live in the village, which was wiped out when the mudslide hit Sunday, is still unclear.

Leng says that originally there were 150 buildings in Shiao Lin, but now only one or two are left. He says everything is gone, and officials do not know how many may have been buried.

Leng says that while helicopters reached the village Tuesday morning, rain and strong winds made it impossible for them to return in the afternoon.

Before moving on to China, Typhoon Morakot brought the island the worst flooding it has seen in at least 50 years. Landslides have also hit other parts of the island. Swollen rivers have wiped out roads and sucked away houses, hotels and even a school.

Disaster officials say that as of Tuesday, the storm has killed 41 people and 62 are missing. Those figures do not include estimates for Shiao Lin.

Chinese state media say Typhoon Morakot triggered floods and a mudslide China's east coast, and affected over eight million people.

Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes as the storm heads north. State media say a landslide in the town of Pengxi, in Zhejiang province, toppled a building, killing two people and seriously injuring four others.

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