Friday, August 14, 2009

Morakot's death toll may reach 500, says Taiwan's president

Tim Culpan and Weiyi Lim in Bloomberg News: Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said the death toll from Typhoon Morakot may climb to 500, with the government estimating losses of as much as NT$110 billion ($3.34 billion) from the worst storm in 50 years.

Some 389 people are feared buried in mudslides in southern Shiao Lin village and may add to those already confirmed dead, Ma said at a meeting of the National Security Council early today, according to a transcript. The toll rose to 118 as of 3 p.m. today, the National Fire Agency said.

Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan from Aug. 6 to 9, the island’s worst storm since 1,000 people were killed in 1959. Taiwan’s cabinet is preparing a special budget for typhoon relief to present to the legislature next week, while Ma today called his first meeting of the Security Council amid criticism the government responded too slowly.

…The Foreign Ministry yesterday accepted international offers of assistance and asked for specialized heavy-lift helicopters, prefabricated housing and sanitation supplies, it said in a statement. The ministry declined offers from two overseas rescue teams, Andrew Hsia, deputy foreign minister, said in a phone interview today….

A bridge in Danshui, Taiwan, shot by Udo Schoene, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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