China - Taiwan Province

Typhoon death toll in Taiwan still increasing

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TAIPEI, Aug 20, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Seven more victims of typhoon Morakot were confirmed in Taiwan, raising the death toll to 141 as of 12 p.m. Thursday, local disaster response authorities said.

The authorities also reported 440 people were missing, 54 more than Wednesday's figure.

Rescue work is still underway at two villages in Kaohsiung where 523 villagers were buried alive by mudslides. No exact casualty figures are available at this time.

Morakot was the worst typhoon to hit the island in nearly five decades, wreaking havoc across the central and southern regions.

More than 24,000 people have been evacuated, and nearly 6,000 people are housed in emergency shelter areas.

According to the island's agriculture department, Morakot has caused 13.45 billion New Taiwan dollars (408.19 million U.S. dollars) of loss in the agriculture sector.

Aid from the Chinese mainland and the international society had poured in as the death toll continued to climb in the past week.

As of Tuesday, the mainland had sent two batches of relief goods to the island, including prefabricated houses, sleeping bags, blankets and disinfection appliances.

Organizations and individuals on the mainland had donated about 270 million yuan (39.5 million dollars) of fund and relief material worth of 30 million yuan (4.39 million dollars) to Taiwan by Wednesday evening, according to the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office.