The massive airlift continues to try and rescue those stranded by the devastating Typhoon Morakot which struck Taiwan last weekend.
More than 500 people are now reported dead as a result of flooding and mudslides. Most of the victims come from the village of Hsiaolin where all houses but two were touched by the destruction. In central and southern Taiwan, roads and bridges have been swept away and buildings toppled by raging waters. Many isolated mountain villages are now only accessible by air. The government of President Ma is coming under increasing pressure as critics and survivors accuse them of doing too little too late. However, the authorities say sustained rains in the disaster areas grounded helicopters and halted rescue attempts. The cost of the damage to infrastructure and agriculture is estimated at around 650 million euros. Taiwan has requested international aid in the form of giant cargo helicopters to ferry earth movers and prefabricated buildings to help house the thousands of dispossessed, as well as medical supplies to halt the spread of disease.