Mon, 15 Oct 2018

Emergency workers rush to save those trapped in Taiwan quake

By Sheetal Sukhija, Turkmenistan News
08 Feb 2018, 07:46 GMT+10

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Following the powerful 6.5 magnitude tremor in Taiwan, many high-rise buildings tilted dangerously, even as rescuers across the affected parts of the country scrambled to save those trapped. 

On Wednesday, emergency workers pulled people from high-rise buildings that were tilting at extraordinary angles following the major quake. 

Authorities said that at least 82 people remained missing after the tremor, while six people were reported dead.

Officials also said that 247 people have sustained injuries following the 6.4-magnitude tremor, which hit 13 miles north-east of Hualien, a city on the east coast of the country, on Tuesday night.

A few hours earlier, another less powerful earthquake struck the region.

The initial quake caused at least four buildings to cave in and tilt dangerously.

Local media released video footage showing children being passed out of several buildings in Hualien county leaning at sharp angles.

The lowest floors of these buildings were seen to be crushed into mangled heaps of concrete, shattered glass, bent iron beams and other debris.

Further, the footage showed firefighters climbing ladders hoisted against windows as they tried to reach adults and children trapped inside apartments.

A report in Taiwan's official Central News Agency quoted a maintenance worker, Chen Ming-hui as saying that he had rescued after being trapped in the basement of the Marshal Hotel.

The ground floor of the hotel was caved in and the workers said the force of the earthquake was unusual.

Ming-hui was quoted in the report after being reunited with his son and grandson following the quake as saying, "At first it wasn't that big ... we get this sort of thing all the time and it's really nothing. But then it got really terrifying. It was really scary."

Meanwhile, Taiwan's National Fire Agency said rescuers freed another employee from the rubble, while a third hotel worker was also freed but appeared to have died.

According to the fire agency, the force of the tremor buckled roads and disrupted electricity and water supplies to thousands of households.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said that nine Japanese were among the injured and 16 foreigners were sent to various hospitals with injuries.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen reassured the public that every effort would be made to look for survivors. 

Tsai said in a post on her official Facebook page that she had arrived in Hualien on Wednesday to review rescue efforts.

Tsai added that she "ordered search and rescue workers not to give up on any opportunity to save people, while keeping their own safety in mind.”

She added, “This is when the Taiwanese people show their calm, resilience and love. The government will work with everyone to guard their homeland."

The director of China's Taiwan Affairs office, Zhang Zhijun said that 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.

Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung said from a crisis centre in Taipei that rail links appeared to be unaffected and the runway of Hualien airport was intact.

Hsu said, “We're putting a priority on Hualien people being able to return home to check on their loved ones.”

Taiwan witnesses frequent earthquakes due to its position along the Ring of Fire, the seismic faults encircling the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes occur.

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