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台湾:搜救仍在努力,700人面临危险

来源:天星 更新日期:2009-08-12 点击:

The first witness accounts of the terrifying moment when a mudslide buried a Taiwanese village have emerged, as rescuers warned that more than 700 people were trapped and had possibly died in the incident caused by typhoon Morakot.

Helicopters have plucked about 300 people from mountainous Kaohsiung county, in the south of the island, but rescuers are still struggling to reach survivors as rain continues. One helicopter crashed into a mountain in nearby Pingtung county with three crew members on board.

One villager told Taiwan's China Times newspaper that she fled with her husband and baby minutes before their home was buried. "We heard two loud bangs ... The sky was filled with dust like a volcanic eruption, and flood waters, mud and rocks streamed onto the roads," she said.

In China, the government warned of the potential for secondary disasters as heavy rain persisted in the south and 20 rivers hit flood alarm levels.

More than 100 people across the Asia-Pacific region, including 62 in Taiwan, have been confirmed dead since the typhoon hit the Philippines, Taiwan and China and tropical storm Etau pummelled Japan, where it claimed 13 lives. The storms have caused hundreds of millions of pounds of damage.

Hu Jui-chou, a Taiwanese army major-general involved in rescue operations, said the 700 or more still trapped included residents trapped by a massive landslide in Hsiao-lin and a second village, Namahsia, in Kaohsiung.

"Trapped means they could be dead or alive," Hu said by telephone.

"It very likely covers people buried in the Hsiao-lin mudslide."

Lee Chin-long, 50, told Associated Press he watched as walls of mud and rock wiped out most of the village.

"I was watching from my house upstairs. The whole mountain just fell off. When I saw that, I started to run," said Lee, from Cishan, the hub of rescue operations.

"Almost every house was gone, except for a couple."

One rescued resident, Lin Mei-ying, begged the military to step up efforts, telling the television station ETTV: "There are still a lot of people trapped inside ... please go faster so they can be saved."

According to Taiwanese television reports, a mudslide may have buried another village in Pingtung county. Local media also suggested ten other villages may have been seriously damaged, but poor communications and the destruction of roads and bridges is making it hard to assess the scale of the problems. Earlier today Taiwan's fire service reported that tens of thousands were stranded.

Footage showed the streets of a village near Hsiao-lin covered by thick mud and rubble. According to reports, a 51-year-old man was swept 1.2 miles (2km) as the mudslides rushed down a nearby mountain, surviving by holding onto a log.

It is thought the typhoon hit at around 6am local time, as many householders were sleeping. One survivor told police his family of 10 had been wiped out, the Associated Press reported. "They are gone," he said, according to a local photographer who overheard the exchange.

In China, Morakot destroyed 10,000 homes and caused an estimated 9.7bn yuan (£860m) of damage, state media said. The finance ministry offered 102m yuan (£9m) in emergency aid.

Hui Liangyu, the vice-president, warned that big floods were still likely as heavy rain continued and more than 20 rivers reported water levels above flood-alarm lines in Zhejiang, Fujian and Anhui provinces, although Morakot has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.

In Japan, Etau approached the island's central area and Tokyo, hours after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake tossed food and bottles from store shelves, disrupted transport and shut down a nuclear power plant for safety checks.

Japan's weather agency warned of possible landslides and flooding, as the quake followed heavy rain. Footage showed one motorway partially washed out.

幸存者描述了令人恐怖的一刻:台湾一整座村庄被泥石流掩埋。救援人员警告说,在这次台风“莫拉克”造成的灾难中,可能有700多人被困或丧生。

在这座岛屿的南部,直升飞机从高雄县山区救出了300多人,救援人员还在冒雨奋力搜寻幸存者。一架救援直升机在屏东县附近山区坠毁,上面有三名机组人员。

一位村民告诉台湾的《中国时报》,她同丈夫带着婴儿在房屋遭掩埋前几分钟死里逃生。“我们听到两声巨响 ... 天空一片尘土,就像是火山喷发,然后洪水、泥浆夹杂着岩石倾泻到公路上,”她说。

在中国大陆,政府警告说,由于南方大雨还在继续,并且20条河流超过警戒水位,有爆发次生灾害的潜在危险。

自从台风袭击菲律宾、台湾和中国大陆以来,亚太地区有超过100人,包括台湾62人,已被确认丧生。另外热带风暴“艾涛”袭击日本,造成13人丧生。风暴造成数亿英镑的损失。

参与了救援行动的台湾军队少将Hu Jui-chou说高雄Namahsia的小林村和另一个村庄仍有700或更多的居民因大规模山体滑坡而被困。

“被困意味着他们生死不明,”胡在电话中说。

“这个数字可能包括小林村被泥石流埋没的人员。”

50岁的李金龙告诉美联社,他看到泥浆和岩石像一堵堵倒下的墙把大部分村庄淹没。

“我正在从我家楼上向外看着,突然整座山塌了下来。见此情景,我拔腿就跑,”旗山救援行动中心的李英健说。

“除了一、二座之外,几乎所有的房屋都消失了。”

居民林美英获救之后恳求士兵们加紧努力,并告诉东森电视台:“现在还有很多人被困在里面 ... 请加快行动让他们获救。”

根据台湾电视台报道,泥石流可能已经淹没了屏东县的另一个村庄。当地媒体报道还有10座村庄可能已经遭到严重破坏,但是由于通信故障和道路、桥梁被毁,很难对灾难的规模作出评估。今天早些时候,台湾的消防部门报告受困的群众数以万计。

电视画面显示小林村附近的街道被厚厚的淤泥和乱石所覆盖。据报道,一名51岁的男子被附近山上奔涌而下的泥石流冲到1.2英里(2公里)之外,幸亏抱着一根原木而躲过一劫。

据认为,台风来袭的时间是当地早上6时左右,当时许多居民还在睡梦中。美联社报道说,一名幸存者告诉警方他有10个家人被冲走。“他们都不见了,”他说。当地一位摄影师听到了他们的对话。

在中国大陆,国营媒体说“莫拉克”摧毁了10,000座房屋,造成的损失估计9.7亿元(860万英镑)。财政部提供了1.02亿元(9百万英镑)的紧急援助。

国务院副总理回良玉警告说,虽然“莫拉克”现已减弱为热带风暴,由于持续下大雨,浙江,福建,安徽等省20多条河流水位超警戒线,有爆发大面积洪灾的可能。

在日本,热带风暴“艾涛”袭击了日本中部和东京地区。在这之前数小时,一场里氏6.5级地震,震落了货架上的食品和瓶子,破坏了交通运输线路,还迫使一座核电厂关闭作安全检查。

日本气象厅警告说,由于地震之后下大雨,可能导致山体滑坡和洪灾。电视画面显示,高速公路部分路段被冲毁。

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