Local authorities say at least 300 people have probably been killed in a village in southern Taiwan in a series of landslides in the wake of typhoon Morakot.
A magistrate in the area said the people were reported missing are have likely been buried in mudslides in the village of Hisaolin. He described the prospect of finding them alive as very pessimistic. Pingtung rescue team leader, Li Bin-Cheng described the difficulties facing rescue crews. “The area is a rocky mountain formation and tough to find an anchor point when the rescuers are climbing. Right below the rocks there’s a river without any sand banks, so people can easily be washed away if they fall.” Pressure has mounted on Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou to speed up efforts to rescue hundreds of residents in remote mountainous villages devastated by the typhoon. Taiwan’s south is a stronghold of the country’s opposition party DPP. It has criticized the government’s reaction to the crisis as being too slow in addressing the suffering of the people. Some residents have challenged the president for turning down international help to expedite the rescue process. The government claims the military has deployed more than 34,000 personnel and over 380 helicopters since typhoon Morakot struck the country. The official death toll is put at more than 100.