Mon, Aug 17, 2009
The New Paper
A-mei grieves for relatives

TAIWANESE singer A-mei lost her uncle and brother-in-law in the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot early this week.

She was on a promotional tour in China and Hong Kong when her family broke the news to her on Wednesday, reported Apple Daily Taiwan.

The distraught singer caught a 2am flight on Thursday to Taipei followed by another early morning flight to Taidong to pay her last respects to her relatives.

Her uncle had died suddenly of a heart attack on Monday.

But her family kept the news from her so as not to distract her from her work.

Two days later, A-mei's brother-in-law, who is in his 40s, also died from a heart attack. He had been worried about his family who were affected by the typhoon.

The singer also asked to be driven to the neighbouring typhoon-hit areas to see if she could help in any way.

After spending half a day at home, she departed for Taipei in order to catch a flight to Chengdu for her next appearance.

Last night, A-mei appeared on TV to raise funds for the typhoon victims.

She will return to Taiwan on Sunday for a fund-raising event organised by the Red Cross.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that the death toll from Typhoon Morakot could reach 500 as more than 300 missing people in a southern mountain village were feared dead, said AFP.

Speaking at a national security meeting, he noted: 'With 117 confirmed deaths from the typhoon and some 380 people feared buried by mudslides in Hsiaolin village, Taiwan's death toll could rise to more than 500.'

There has been anger over the delay in rescue efforts by the authorities.

Taipei Times reported yesterday that The National Communications Commission is investigating allegations that satellite cable news station, ERA News, did not relay victims' requests for help to the authorities after broadcasting them.

ERA News has issued a statement on its website denying the allegation.

The station said: 'Our news team crossed many collapsed roads and rapid torrents to reach victims.

'We also made lists of callers' requests and sent them to the Central Emergency Operation Centre and our offices in central and southern Taiwan.'

Meanwhile, rescue workers from Jiaxian township in Kaohsiung county spent Thursday searching for victim's bodies in the Qishan River.

But they returned empty-handed after a day's work, reported Apple Daily Taiwan.

Dog finds body parts

But Blackie, a dog belonging to a Mr Liu who lives by the Qishan bridge, had earlier retrieved three separate body parts from the river over a period of two days.

Mr Liu's relatives said the dog had returned with a right hand followed by an unidentified body part on Monday. It returned with a left leg two days later.

A relative living next door said: 'Blackie did not bite the body parts it brought back. It just left them silently in the yard.

'We were afraid that the body parts would be taken away by wild dogs, so we placed them in a bucket and asked the village officials to handle them.'

Mr Liu's family said Blackie was a stray they had rescued from the Qishan riverbed about five years ago.

They said the dog was familiar with the surrounding area and liked to follow the family to the river where they had vegetable gardens.

The cemetery caretaker for Jianxian township said, as of Thursday, three members of the public had brought in seven body parts, which have since been stored in the cold storage at the hospital.

A neighbour added: 'Blackie is very sharp. He's a rescue dog.'

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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