Taiwan steps up search for typhoon missing
The emotional visit came as rescuers found an unidentified body on a beach in northeastern Taiwan, bringing to 14 the island's confirmed death toll from Megi, the strongest storm to strike the northwest Pacific in two decades.
The body was so mangled by a landslide brought on by the typhoon that it was impossible to immediately determine if it was a man or woman, officials said.
The 36 relatives wanted to come to Taiwan to understand the rescue operations better and possibly be of help in identifying their loved ones, an official with Taiwan's Tourism Bureau said.
"The most important thing for us is to see our relatives, whatever the search outcome," one man told reporters upon arrival at Taoyuan airport.
The military has dispatched divers and helicopters to search the ocean coast, as officials fear the bus carrying the missing Chinese might have plunged into the sea.
In a statement issued ahead of their departure for Taiwan, the relatives accused the Taiwan tour operator of risking the lives of its clients amid the bad weather, local media said.
They demanded that Taiwanese authorities do their best to search for their loved ones -- "living or dead".
The 19 Chinese were among 24 missing after the typhoon battered Taiwan on Thursday and Friday, although that figure could be revised following the discovery of the body.
Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said that tropical storm Chaba, now emerging in the Pacific about 1,200 kilometres (700 miles) from the island, might bring heavy rains to Taiwan, hampering the ongoing search.
Emergency workers have dug up nine bodies buried under the debris of a temple swamped by mudslides, while four more were killed elsewhere, the National Fire Agency said.
Megi made landfall in mainland China on Saturday afternoon, where meteorologists Sunday downgraded it to a tropical depression as it dumped torrential rain on coastal provinces.
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