7 dead, 67 missing after quake rocks Taiwan

08 February, 2018, 13:20 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Chen drinking a beverage

Aftershocks rocked Taiwan's eastern coast on Thursday as rescue workers searched a teetering multi-story building for missing residents feared trapped inside more than 36 hours after a deadly natural disaster. Rescue efforts were focused on the 12-storey Yun Tsui residential building, which tilted on its side at about a 45-degree angle.

"This is the worst natural disaster in the history of Hualien, or at least over the past 40 years that I've been alive", said volunteer Yang Hsi Hua. The shaking was felt across Taiwan, but in Hualien the force was disastrous, collapsing walls and leaving buildings resting at alarming angles.

Jason Grenier, a Canadian living with his Taiwanese wife and daughter just south of Hualien, said Wednesday that their home is intact and they have power and water.

Rescue efforts are underway in the city as emergency workers and volunteers work to shift rubble and search for trapped people.

Rescuers were digging "nonstop on the backside of the building" to try to find people feared trapped on the lower floors, Hualien County fire commander Zhu Zhe-min said.

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Rescue operations continued this afternoon under drizzling skies and officials said four bodies were recovered throughout the day.

"Thank you to our first responders for their tireless efforts in #Hualien", she said. "I have a hunch there is another big one coming", she told AFP.

Lin said the building had obviously tipped over further since she arrived.

The number of people killed in this week's natural disaster in Taiwan has risen to nine, with dozens remaining missing and hundreds hurt, rescuers said Thursday.

The three mainland victims were all believed to be staying at the Beauty Stay Hotel, which was located on the second floor of the apartment block. Six people were reported dead and 260 injured.

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The government would subsidize people who need to relocate in accordance with due procedure, he said.

Hualien, whose rugged Pacific coastline and picturesque Taroko Gorge National Park are a major tourist draw, is home to about 100,000 people.

"It is the first time in my life [where I felt like] I wanted to hide under a bed", said 32-year-old Ms Chieh. The son survived the quake with light injuries.

President Tsai Ing-wen was at the scene of the quake on Wednesday morning, where she visited hospitals and relief centres. Many people remain stuck in the bottom two floors.

According the Central Emergency Operation Center, nine people have died, 62 are missing and 266 were injured as a result of Tuesday's (Feb. 6) magnitude 6.0 natural disaster.

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The country suffered a strong 7.6-magnitude tremor in 1999, which killed at least 2,415 people.

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