Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Buildings tilt on sides as quake hits Taiwan

Buildings tilt on sides as quake hits Taiwan

Four people died while 85 more went missing and at least 243 were injured after a 6.4-magnitude quake hit off the coast of eastern Taiwan.

A volunteer rescuer, Yang Hsi Hua, told Reuters: "This is the worst natural disaster in the history of Hualien, or at least over the past 40 years that I've been alive".

Still, even amid dust and heavy rain and shattered glass, the scale of the devastation was becoming clear as night settled in: At least 10 people have died, more than 260 are injured and almost 60 remain missing, according to and figures from the National Fire Agency.

Rescuers fear dozens of people are stuck in collapsed buildings.

- Rescuers combed through the rubble of collapsed buildings on Wednesday, in a search for 67 people missing after a strong quake which killed at least seven near Taiwan's popular tourist city of Hualien. Smaller tremors rattled nervous residents throughout the day.

Taiwanese rescuers Thursday braved aftershocks coursing through a dangerously leaning apartment block that was partially toppled by a deadly quake, as their search for survivors uncovered two more bodies.

As of 14:00 Thursday, 25 people had remained missing. Rescuers said it is hard for them to enter the building.

Meanwhile, first responders attempted to free two employees trapped in the lobby of the city's Marshal Hotel.

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"It tilted mostly because it was built on top of the fault, and because there were balconies on just one side of the building", he said.

Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China considers part of its territory, lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is prone to earthquakes.

Of the victims, four came from the Chinese mainland and one from the Philippines.

The woman, named as 39-year-old Yu Fei, was travelling with the couple's young son on the island.

Fu said that the county government would deploy large excavators to remove the ruins of the three buildings at 6am today. She passed away Wednesday evening after suffering a head injury during the quake, the news agency reported.

Huang made the comment after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed appreciation earlier that day on her Twitter account for the expressions of sympathy and blessings extended by countries around the world, including the United States, Japan, China, and the European Union in the wake of the natural disaster.

China's official Xinhua News Agency reported that the director of China's Taiwan Affairs office, Zhang Zhijun, said China was "willing to send a rescue team to Taiwan" to help with relief efforts, adding that he was aware of a shortage of rescue workers in the disaster area.

On Thursday night in Hualien, more than 800 people were in 2 evacuation shelters while the water supply to about 8,500 households remained severed.

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