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Chinese star Jet Li helps Taiwan typhoon relief

By AFP

Chinese action star Jet Li unloaded relief supplies and comforted typhoon survivors Saturday as Taiwan struggled to cope with floods and landslides that may have left up to 500 dead.

Wearing a Red Cross baseball cap, the film hero helped unload boxes of food from trucks. He appealed for patience with government relief efforts, which have faced criticism for being slow and inadequate.

"It will get better. Everybody is working very hard. We should have more understanding and give more encouragement," Li told reporters in a shelter in hard-hit southern Kaohsiung county.

Li, a World Health Organization goodwill ambassador, clapped in time as as survivors sang traditional aboriginal songs.

Li and Hong Kong star Andy Lau joined other celebrities in answering phones on Friday night as two televised fundraisers brought in more than 1.1 billion Taiwan dollars (33 million US dollars) to aid typhoon victims.

Anger has been mounting over the government's apparent bungled response to the disaster, with critics saying it was late in seeing the magnitude of the emergency.

The powerful typhoon lashed the island for three days, triggering what the government says were its worst ever floods.

President Ma Ying-jeou warned the island-wide death toll of more than 120 would likely rise to more than 500 as fears mounted for those missing.

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