9 dead, 23 missing after typhoon hits Taiwan

The mudslide at the temple killed nine people, and a total of 23 people were missing in Taiwan as Typhoon Megi swept toward southern China, where landfall is expected later today. The storm earlier killed 26 people and damaged homes and crops in the Philippines.

Megi dumped a record 45 inches (114 centimeters) of rain in Taiwan's Ilan county over 48 hours. It had winds of 90 miles per hour (145 kilometers per hour) and was about 275 miles (440 kilometers) southeast of Hong Kong on Friday evening, the Hong Kong Observatory said.

Nine people, including two Buddhist nuns, were killed at the White Cloud Temple in Suao city along the eastern coast when a mudslide buried the building, the Central Emergency Operations Center said Saturday.

Two buses carrying Chinese tourists were on a six-mile (10-kilometer) stretch of a coastal highway in Ilan that was hit by at least seven rockslides Thursday night, Premier Wu Den-yih said. Nineteen people on one bus were rescued- five with light to moderate injuries- but the Taiwanese driver and the Chinese tour guide were still missing, Wu said.
There had been no contact with the driver, tour guide and 19 tourists aboard the other bus, he said. News reports today cited a rescued traveler as saying he spotted a bus being hit by a boulder and falling into the sea. It is not immediately clear if the vehicle was the missing bus.

Officials said a 500-yard (500-meter) stretch of the highway had collapsed. The rockslides trapped about 30 vans, buses and cars, they said.

Air force helicopters were searching for the missing bus, while all other stranded travelers had been rescued by early today,Interior Minister Chiang Yi-hua said.
The storm dumped heavy rains throughout Taiwan, but Ilan, about 90 miles (150 kilometers) southeast of Taipei, was the hardest hit.

Authorities said more than 2,500 residents had been evacuated. Broad swaths of farmland in the county were under many feet (several meters) of water.

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