Aftershocks rattle Taiwan as quake toll rises to 10, 58 missing

by Garry Watts February 8, 2018, 6:12
Aftershocks rattle Taiwan as quake toll rises to 10, 58 missing

Taiwan was hit by an quake of 5.7 magnitude on the eastern coast of the island, the government said late last night.

The quake struck about 22 km northeast of Hualien shortly before midnight, and the epicenter was very shallow at just 1km, the USGS said.

Some people are still trapped under damaged buildings which includes the Yunman Cuidi building, which has residential and commercial floors and the city's Marshal Hotel where rescuers two Taiwanese trapped.

The city could still face aftershocks with a magnitude of at least 5.0.

Flights to the Hualien area have been canceled, Hsu Kuo-Yung, the spokesperson for the Taiwanese government, said in a news conference shown on SET TV. We dare not go back home now. "The area around my house is actually not that bad, the houses are all OK but, because of the aftershocks, I don't really want to stay there", said Hualien resident Yang Yantin.

Horns sounded to warn people to leave buildings and chanting from groups of Buddhists could also be heard. More than 250 people were injured, officials said. The death toll had been put at seven overnight.

China Central Television reported that more than 40 of the missing people were trapped in the Yunmen Cuiti building, a 12-storey apartment building. A hospital building is among the damaged buildings.

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Half a dozen excavator trucks surrounded the site, where rescue efforts were temporarily suspended because the building was "sliding", according to Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center. The government said three mainland Chinese were among the dead.

Rescue workers used ladders and flash lights as they searched for survivors among the rubble on Thursday. Out of the 830 people, who were evacuated, 643 took refuge in temporary shelters.

"We're putting a priority on Hualien people being able to return home to check on their loved ones", Hsu said. Its streets were buckled by the force of the quake, with large cracks along major roads.

Taiwan is "grateful to the many offers of assistance & support coming from around the world", Tsai, who was in the city Wednesday to view the damage, said toward the end of the day on Twitter.

The natural disaster was a magnitude 6.4 quake, which is the upper limit of the Richter Scale used to measure how strong an natural disaster [VIDEO] is.

People reported feeling the quake in the island's capital, Taipei, more than 160km (100 miles) away.

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