Support girders help prop up a building that came off its foundation, the morning after a 6.4 magnitude quake hit the eastern Taiwanese city of Hualien.
Support girders help prop up a building that came off its foundation, the morning after a 6.4 magnitude quake hit the eastern Taiwanese city of Hualien.

Rescuers Scour Toppled Buildings After Taiwan Quake Kills Seven

Rescuers Scour Toppled Buildings After Taiwan Quake Kills Seven

Rescue workers pulled survivors and bodies from buildings tilting precariously in the Taiwanese city of Hualien on Wednesday, after an overnight earthquake killed at least seven people, injured more than 200 and left dozens missing.
Emergency responders were focusing on a 12-storey apartment block and a nearby hotel, both of which were leaning dangerously with their lower floors pancaked after the 6.4-magnitude quake hit the popular tourist city late Tuesday, AFP reported.    
There were grave concerns for the badly leaning Yun Tsui residential building, which also housed a restaurant, shops and a hostel.
The national fire agency said 88 people were unaccounted for as of 2 pm (0600 GMT) but it was not immediately clear how many of those were trapped inside buildings.
Dozens of residents—and a string of pets—were rescued with ropes and ladders overnight. But fire department staff at the site told AFP at least four bodies had been pulled out of the building in the day.         

Officials temporarily suspended rescue efforts late afternoon over fears the building might slip further as engineers raced to push large concrete clocks and steel bars against the leaning side.
One resident who lives nearby told AFP how he watched the tower block partially collapse.
“I saw the first floor sink into the ground. Then it sank and tilted further and the fourth floor became the first floor,” said Lu Chih-son, 35, who saw 20 people rescued from the building.
At the Marshal Hotel, which was also leaning and badly damaged, at least two people were killed when the lower floors collapsed. But most residents got out and authorities said they believed there were no more people trapped inside.
President Tsai Ing-wen visited the apartment block on Wednesday morning.
“Now is the prime time for our rescue efforts, our first priority is to save people,” she said in a Facebook post.
Hualien is one of Taiwan’s most popular tourist hubs as it lies on the picturesque east coast rail line and near the popular Taroko Gorge.
The government said 17 foreigners sought medical treatment for minor injuries.
“The lower floors sunk into the ground and I saw panicked tourists being rescued from the hotel,” eyewitness Blue Hsu told AFP.
Officials also said 214 people had been injured in the quake, with 117 rescued from damaged buildings so far. Some 830 people were in shelters while 1,900 houses were without power.
The quake hit just before midnight (1550 GMT) around 21 kilometers (13 miles) northeast of Hualien, according to the United States Geological Survey.



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