20 August 2009
In the wake of torrential rain and destruction brought by Typhoon Morakot, World Vision has increased relief efforts in Taiwan. The worst typhoon to hit the country in over 50 years struck on August 7 and 8 bringing heavy rainfall causing flooding and mudslides.
In the mountainous regions of south and east Taiwan, mudslides have partially or completely buried villages. Roads and bridges were heavily damaged causing major difficulties for aid workers attempting to rescue survivors and deliver aid.
Government authorities have confirmed the disaster caused 126 deaths, while over 300 people are missing, 45 injured and 24,775 evacuated. Almost 5,000 people are now living in 49 shelters. The death toll is expected to increase, as there are still hundreds missing in the mountains and feared buried under the mudslides.
Over the past week, the Government of Taiwan and military authorities have worked to rescue thousands of people stranded in the mountains.
Massive flooding in low-lying areas has washed away homes and businesses, leaving behind a significant clean-up effort ahead. Thousands of evacuees from the mountains or flooded areas are staying at shelters established by local authorities or finding refuge with friends and relatives.
“Typhoon Morakot’s impact has been devastating,” said Hank Du, Executive Director for World Vision Taiwan. “Many children and families have had their homes and livelihoods swept away. Our prayers are with them and with those grieving the loss of loved ones. ”
“We will work quickly to restore hope for children who have lost everything.”
In the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Morakot, pre-positioned relief goods were readily available in many of the affected areas. This enabled World Vision staff to respond quickly and reach people with aid, such as food, clean water, and basic hygiene kits.
World Vision is currently running relief activities serving 4,000 people in 30 shelters across six counties: Pingtung, Taitung, Chiayi, Kaoshiung, and Nantou.
Five hundred staff and over 1,000 volunteers have been mobilised to distribute relief kits and set up eight child friendly spaces for more than 280 children.