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Typhoons smack Asia; death toll rises

Up to 600 missing after landslide buries village

BEIJING — The toll from two typhoons in the Pacific rose Monday, as a rural village in south-central Taiwan was buried in rubble, leaving as many as 600 people missing, and at least 12 people were killed on Japan's western coast. Thirty-seven people had already been reported dead in the Philippines, Taiwan and China.

Initial reports from the Taiwanese village, Hsiao-lin, were sketchy. A spokesman for the National Fire Administration, Liang Yu-chu, said 45 people had been pulled alive from the mudslide, but that no dead had been found.

Other unverified reports from local residents, quoted by news services, suggested that as many as 600 people were missing. Hundreds of people were scattered in houses outside the more concentrated boundaries of the village, and the scope of the landslide was not known.

"The whole village was buried in the landslide, so it's hard to be certain," Liang said. "They're still searching."

In Japan on Monday, at least 12 people were killed and 10 others were missing after another typhoon, Etau, slammed the western part of the country, bringing heavy rain that led to floods and landslides.

The typhoon that hit Taiwan, Morakot, unleashed record rains between Friday and Sunday, causing what officials said was the worst flooding in half a century. The number of known dead in Taiwan was 15, with 32 severely injured. Those figures did not include potential landslide victims.

Morakot, which means emerald in Thai, struck the Philippines last week, killing 21 people, including a French tourist and two Belgian tourists, according to officials there. Seven others were reported missing.

Three people also were killed on mainland China, where Morakot struck Sunday.

Taiwan's central government had warned earlier of landslide dangers after Morakot battered the island, dumping record rains across the south. Helicopters took rescuers into the landslide site, in Kaohsiung County, and officials said accurate information on the situation was likely to emerge before daylight today. Rescue efforts were complicated by continuing rain.

Reuters quoted an army general involved in the rescue effort, Richard Hu, as saying that "no small number of single-story homes have been covered" by the mudslide.

More than 170,000 people remained without power on Monday, the government said.

In China's Zehejiang province, the weakened storm was still churning over Wenzhou on Monday. Skies there had cleared, but heavy rain was predicted later.

"I'm living in the center of town, which is not so bad," one woman, Yang Weiwei, said from Wenzhou in a telephone interview. "However, some parts of the city are in a mess."

Contributing: Jonathan Ansfield, Hiroko Tabuchi and Zhang Jin