Taiwan confirms 543 dead, 117 missing after typhoon

Relief Web (Link) - AFP (August 27, 2009)

Taiwan on Thursday confirmed that 543 people were killed and 117 were missing after Typhoon Morakot struck more than two weeks ago, causing the worst flooding in the island's history.

The National Fire Agency said that the latest figures included 397 confirmed deaths from the worst-hit southern village of Hsiaolin, where another 53 people were still unaccounted for.

Previously, the death toll from the typhoon stood at 461.

The toll was expected to rise futher, with the agency saying around 60 bodies had yet to be identified.

The typhoon struck the island on August 8, bringing a record three metres (118 inches) of rain, submerging houses and streets and destroying dozens of bridges and hundreds of roads.

President Ma Ying-jeou has said the scale of damage caused by Morakot was more severe than a 1959 typhoon that killed 667 people and left around 1,000 missing.

The deadliest natural disaster in the island's history was a 7.6-magnitude quake that claimed around 2,400 lives in September 1999.