First, apologies if my posts are a little sporadic (and if I am not replying to your emails). I am currently on leave in the Swiss Alps. However, I will continue to make short posts over the next fortnight, especially in light of the Taiwan landslides.
Thanks again to Tsou Ching-Ying of Kyoto University for bringing to my attention a Youtube video of the Shiaolin site. This is of course the village that was most seriously impacted by Typhoon Morakot. The video appears to have been shot from a UAV. The quality is a little marginal, but you will get a very clear impression of the landslide if you view it below:
If you cannot view it above it should be visible here.
This is not really a mudslide as the media have described it. It is a little hard to characterise from this view, but it looks to be a large-scale, catastrophic rock slope failure that has transitioned into a debris flow. It appears to have had a long runout - I guess it is unsurprising that the loss of life was so high.