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Saturday, August 15, 2009

And the beat goes on

It's been a week now since work was canceled last Friday due to the approach of Typhoon Morakot. The aftermath of the disaster in the south, and the ongoing rescue efforts, are still a leading story on CNN broadcasts, as well as on the BBC website; the president continues to be arrogantly aloof from the suffering of the people; and the government was forced to swallow its misplaced pride, and announce its acceptance of assistance from other countries, after a strong public outcry against the initial refusal. Today's Japan Today has a Kyōdō News 共同通信社 update on the situation in the disaster zone ("Up to 600 dead in mudslide-devastated village in Taiwan"):

"As many as 600 people were killed in the landslide that buried or swept away Hsiaolin Village 小林 in the wake of Typhoon Morakot, rescuers here said, as Taiwan appealed to the international community for aid and criticism mounted over the island’s handling of one of the worst storms in its history. Officially, the island-wide death toll from the storm has reached 108, but uncertainty abounds over the actual figure, as some villages were wiped out by floods and landslides, with many victims buried or torn to pieces, said Lu Cheng Tsung, commander of a search-and-rescue unit based near Hsiaolin. 'What we’re finding is an arm here, a leg there, sometimes a head, washed up on the riverbanks,' Lu said, putting the death toll in Hsiaolin alone at '500 to 600.' By all accounts, the village—once a postcard-perfect enclave of concrete villas—was the worst hit community. Indeed, all that remains are two battered houses and stray dogs, which paced anxiously on Thursday over the mud, streams and boulders that lie on top of what rescuers said were hundreds of bodies. The figure for the dead, they said, is a ballpark estimate."

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