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Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 14:36 UK

Taiwan receives international aid

US heavy-lift Hercules aircraft with aid supplies at Tainan airbase, southern Taiwan - 17 August 2009
US military aircraft have started delivering aid to Taiwan

International aid, including US military helicopters, has started to arrive in Taiwan, more than a week after Typhoon Morakot hit the island.

Rescuers are still trying to reach hundreds of survivors trapped in remote areas cut off by landslides.

More than 500 people are believed to have been killed in the deadliest typhoon to hit Taiwan in 50 years.

The government has been criticised for being slow in responding to the typhoon and in asking for assistance.

Officials have confirmed that 126 people were killed in the storm, but President Ma Ying-jeou has said the figure could exceed 500.

Hundreds of the victims are believed to be buried in one village, Hsiaolin, which was almost completely covered in a mudslide triggered by several days of extremely heavy rainfall.

About 40,000 Taiwanese troops are now searching for survivors in remote areas in the south of Taiwan.

On Sunday, Transport Minister Mao Chih-kuo said more than 1,600 people needed to be airlifted from 44 badly-damaged villages.

A landslide covering homes in Alishan, Taiwan - 17 August 2009

Heavy US helicopters and transport planes have arrived to help deliver aid and to lift digging equipment into cut-off villages to start clearing roads.

A team from the European Union has also arrived to assess how the EU can help.

On Tuesday, two US Black Hawk helicopters will arrive to search for survivors in the forested mountains who may not yet have been found.

China has also offered military aircraft, but Taiwan has declined the offer. The two neighbours separated at the end of a civil war in 1949 and no peace treaty has been signed.

Allowing Chinese military planes to enter Taiwan would be a highly sensitive matter, says the BBC's Cindy Sui in the island's capital, Taipei.

The next task is to ensure that people who do not need to be evacuated and people who need to move back in can survive in areas with damaged houses, washed-out roads, no running water or electricity and sanitation problems due to dead bodies and animal carcasses, our correspondent says.

Map of area of Taiwan


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