Morakot: Taiwan Mudslide Buried Up to 400 in Shiao Lin Village
Typhoon Morakot brought unprecedented level of rainfall to the southern part of Taiwan, causing floods and mudslides. Shiao Lin Village (小林村) in Kaohsiung county was buried in mudslide. The latest official estimated 398 people might have died in the mudslide.
Shiao Lin is believed to have suffered the most in the whole country. The mudslide covers an area 150 meters wide, 800 meters long, and up to 20 meters deep. All but one house is left standing. Rescue teams said it was worst than the 921 earthquake in 1999. In the magnitude 7.6 earthquake, rescuers could search for survivors through the cracks of collaped buildings. In a mudslide, victims could not have survived that long, and the dig may take months. Rescue teams have yet to started the dig.
Up until now, typhoon Morakot caused 116 deaths, 59 missing, and 45 injured. 1610 people had been rescued.
On midnight of August 7, a code red forced evacuation notice was issued for Shiao Lin Village. On August 8, the bureau still received text message by the local official, but has since lost contact after August 9. It is unclear as to why the village was not evacuated. Officials from Soil and Water Conservation Bureau said they could only notify the local officials when rainfall exceeded the critical point, but the actual evacuation is carried out by the locals. The critical point was 450 millimeters, and by August 8 the rainfall had exceeded 1100 millimeters.
Two other villages were also buried by mudslide, but there were no casualties because they were evacuated in advance.