China - Taiwan Province

Taiwan counts typhoon cost in billions

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The Taiwanese government has put the cost of Typhoon Morakot at $US 4 billion.

Tens of thousands of troops have been struggling along shattered roads and bridges to reach stranded communities.

120 people are known to have died on the island, but the Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou says the final figure could exceed 500.

He's urged all Taiwanese to help deal with the crisis.

Criticism for Ma

Mr Ma's administration has been criticised for being too slow to see the magnitude of the crisis in which hundreds of villages were cut off by mudslides, leaving them only accessible by air.

Dozens of typhoon survivors confronted Mr Ma during a visit on Thursday to hard-hit southern Taiwan.

"What is the government doing? It's too late, they cannot be saved," said an angry man.

The military says 4,000 more soldiers were added to the rescue mission, bringing the total to 34,000.

Nearly 14,000 people have been airlifted to safety but the government has been criticised by survivors of mudslides and by politicians for not doing enough to help.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation