At least 37 killed by tropical storm Mindulle in Philippines, Taiwan

Saturday, July 3rd 2004, 9:55 am
By: News On 6

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ Tropical storm Mindulle pushed toward South Korea on Saturday after killing at least 37 people in the Philippines and Taiwan, officials said. Thirteen others were missing and feared dead.

In Taiwan, the death toll rose to six, as flooding continued to disrupt traffic four days after Mindulle first struck the island of 23 million people off southeastern China.

Taiwan's Council of Agriculture estimated damage to crops and infrastructure at $15.65 million, much of it from devastation of fruit farms. The storm also killed 23,000 poultry.

Mindulle _ the Korean word for dandelion _ moved more than 190 miles north of Taiwan on Saturday, heading for South Korea, but central parts of the island were still coping with flooding, landslides, and swept-away bridges.

In the Philippines, Mindulle killed at least 31 people, while 11 others were missing and feared dead, officials said Saturday.

At least 3,500 people were forced to flee to evacuation centers or to relatives' homes to escape rising floodwaters.

The typhoon destroyed more than $11.7 million worth of crops and livestock in the Philippines, and $7.94 million in infrastructure, disaster officials said.

On Saturday, a bulldozer driver was swept to his death from his vehicle by rising water in central Taiwan's Nantou region, police said.

A man was killed by falling rocks as he went to a store in southern Taiwan's Chiayi region, and an elderly woman drowned in the central region of Taichung. In the same area, two people were missing after floodwaters swept them away, police said. Three people were killed earlier.

Train traffic was gradually returning to normal Saturday, after rail service had been suspended in some areas Thursday and Friday. Several domestic airports were still closed.

Rescue teams in central Taiwan's mountains were clearing rubble from landslides, and bridges were closed because of flood damage.

The Central Weather Bureau said the rains would last at least until Tuesday, and warned more landslides were likely.