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Typhoon Morakot batters southern Taiwan

In a three-day rampage from August 6 to 9 in 2009, Typhoon Morakot dumped 2,000-mm of torrential rain in southern Taiwan, destroying roads and bridges and cutting off all forms of communications. In one village alone, a total of 439 people were killed and 21 went missing. In the early morning of August 9, a mudslide rumbled down from the top of a mountain next to Xiao Lin Village brought massive rocks and currents, swallowing 169 households, leaving 381 dead and 16 missing. This has been the worst natural disaster and one of the darkest days in the history of Taiwan. (Case no. 0980800787)

The Control Yuan launched an investigation and identified excessive negligence by Jia Hsian Township Office, which is the authority in the hardest-hit region in the Kaohsiung County. The Office failed to station emergency personnel after establishing the local disaster relief center and evacuated the residents in the immediate hours after receiving red alerts from both the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau and the Kaohsiung County Government. In the hours between six and nine in the morning of August 9, 2009, massive landslides finally brought down the Xiao Lin Village, killing 381 of its residents. It was only thirty hours later that the Township Supervisor was notified of the village’s tragic end.

The Executive Yuan established a Reconstruction Council to facilitate post-Morakot disaster relief and reconstruction. The council, along with other responsible agencies, was tasked with building new institutions, museums, memorial parks, elementary schools, shrines, not only to commemorate the deceased but also to preserve the culture of Taiwanese Plains Aborigines. The Control Yuan continues to monitor the progress of the work in land reconstruction and cultural preservation and has requested that the Executive Yuan continue to update the Control Yuan every six months on the latest progress.