AFP - At least 300 people were missing and feared dead after their village in southern Taiwan was flattened by landslides during Typhoon Morakot, a county magistrate said Thursday.
"Some 300 people were missing and possibly buried under mudslides in Hsiaolin Village. The situation is very pessimistic," Kaohsiung county magistrate Yang Chiu-hsing told AFP.
An intense rescue effort has been focused on Hsiaolin and several neighbouring villages which have been almost totally destroyed by landslides.
More than 2,000 of the villagers were believed to be trapped awaiting evacuation by air, as traffic to the outside was completely cut off by mudslides, Yang said.
Rescuers were struggling against other hazards left by the typhoon with floods creating at least four lakes in the area, two of which were already threatening to overspill, he said.
Taiwan Thursday deployed thousands of extra troops as it faced growing public anger and pressure to rescue people trapped by landslides.
The military said 4,000 more soldiers were added to the rescue effort, bringing the total to 38,000.
The confirmed death toll from the destruction wreaked by the typhoon, which caused the island's worst floods in half a century, rose to at least 116 Thursday.