700 People Found Alive after Taiwan Mudslides

About 700 people have been found alive by rescues in two southern villages buried by mudslides after Typhoon Morakot triggered the worst floods in half a century.

Helicopters flew to the area after the survivors were found at Shiao Lin and Namahsia villages in Kaohsiung county, Martin Yu a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense said in a phone interview today. He didn’t say how many more people are unaccounted for, Bloomberg reports.

"We have found around 700 people alive in three villages last night and 26 more this morning. We are deploying 25 helicopters to evacuate them," Major-General Richard Hu said.

Hu said he was unable to confirm how many people had been buried or killed by the landslide in Hsiaolin and in two other remote villages in Kaohsiung county, AFP reports.

The survivors from four villages managed to make it to higher ground before walls of mud and rock submerged their homes. Among them are about 200 people from Hsiao Lin, a village in Kaohsiung county that was obliterated by a mudslide, Hu said. "They had already left the main village and gone to another one," he said. "We don't need to rescue them. We can just send in food."

Others from the villages of Sanmin, Namahsia and Chinghe were also found safe. But many are still missing, Hu said.

Rescue work was continuing today, Canada.com reports.

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