Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Seven killed, 260 injured in Taiwan quake

Seven killed, 260 injured in Taiwan quake

At least ten people were killed and dozens remained missing after a 6.4-magnitude quake hit the popular eastern tourist city of Hualien late Tuesday.

There are now about 150,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan, many of them employed in the manufacturing sector and as household service workers.

The buildings reportedly stood near the fault.

Numerous missing were believed to be trapped in a 12-storey residential building that was tilting at a 45-degree angle.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck just before midnight Tuesday about 21 kilometers (13 miles) northeast of Hualien at a relatively shallow depth of about 10.6 kilometers (6.6 miles).

"The initial onsite report is that there is a Filipina caretaker in one of the buildings who is still missing, so they're searching in the area", Banayo said in the interview.

Rescuers worked Wednesday to free people trapped after a strong natural disaster near Taiwan's east coast caused several buildings to cave in and tilt dangerously.

A Red Cross worker at the scene estimated that the building had tilted another five percent overnight, adding he had little hope of finding survivors on its lowest floors.

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A total of 67 people are still missing.

The government said 17 foreigners sought medical treatment for minor injuries.

A Reuters witness said people rushed out of a residential building and rescue workers looked up from piles of debris after another strong aftershock rattled the city around 11am on Thursday.

"Thank you to our first responders for their tireless efforts in #Hualien", President Tsai Ing-wen, who visited the disaster scene Wednesday, wrote on Twitter. Hualien is close to Taroko National Park, where the famous Taroko Gorge cuts down through the mountains to the sea.

The top priority is to save as many lives as possible, Tsai said after she was briefed by county government officials and military personnel who were participating in rescue efforts.

Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China considers part of its territory, is prone to earthquakes. A magnitude 6.1 quake struck nearby on Sunday.

The island's worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.

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