Hundreds of residents of Xiaolin Village (小林), Kaohsiung County, were still missing yesterday after landslides caused by Typhoon Morakot devastated the area.
Rescuers said yesterday morning that at least 180 residents out of around 600 had survived the mudslides. Another 76 had been moved to safety as of yesterday afternoon.
One of the survivors, Lin Chien-chung (林建忠), told cable news channels that the village had been wiped out, including Xiaolin Elementary School, Chunghwa Telecom communications equipment and the health center.
Lin said he feared most of the 600 residents had been buried alive.
Kaohsiung County’s fire and police departments dispatched about 500 people to search for survivors after two people on Sunday afternoon informed the county’s Emergency Response Center that the village in Jiaxian Township (甲仙) had been destroyed.
The two people said they had received phone calls and text messages from friends and relatives in the village who said it had been destroyed by landslides early Sunday morning. Only 43 people had escaped the catastrophe, they said.
Only eight rescuers had made it to the village as of yesterday afternoon, the Central Disaster Emergency Operation Center said.
In addition, 157 soldiers are being dispatched to the village, it said.
The emergency center said that Liukuei Township’s (六龜) Tsaonan (草南) and Chunghsing (中興) villages were also feared destroyed by mudslides or floods.
Reports had yet to be verified, the center said.
In a call to TVBS, artist Yang En-dian (楊恩典) said teachers at the Liukuei Children’s Home had called her and said that about 100 teachers and children were trapped in the area.
Yang said the teachers and the children — the youngest of whom is aged four — were in urgent need of food and medication.
They had managed to survive over the past few days by drinking water from the river, Yang said.
Rains continued to batter mountainous areas of Kaohsiung County yesterday, dumping more than 200mm of rain on heavily flooded areas.