x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Rescuers find 700 alive after Taiwan mudslide

Hundreds of survivors from several villages made it to higher ground before walls of mud and rock submerged their homes.

CISHAN, TAIWAN // About 700 people from the remote mountains of southern Taiwan have been found alive overnight after it was feared they may have been buried by mudslides, but many are still missing, an official said. Typhoon Morakot, which ravaged Taiwan over the weekend, has killed 63 people across the island. Over the past week more than 100 people have been killed in Asia due to Morakot and tropical storm Etau. In Kaohsiung county in Taiwan's south, hundreds of survivors from several villages made it to higher ground before walls of mud and rock submerged their homes, said Hu Jui-chou, an army official involved in the rescue effort.

"I'll have to say I feel pretty good to be alive," said Lin Dong-wen, 45, a villager from Namahsia, sitting in front of a pile of medicine after he was rescued earlier in the day. "If I had been left there any longer, I wouldn't have made it. I saw the mudslide coming, which was really huge, and I passed out. When I woke up, there was mud all over and I climbed out of it," said Mr Lin. Among those feared buried but later found alive were about 200 people from Hsiao Lin, a village that was wiped out by a landslide, and several others from Namahsia village, officials said.

Helicopters dropped food and supplies to survivors, some perched on hills, while other rescuers in rubber dinghies crossed raging muddy rivers to save victims. * Reuters