A Deadly Quake Hits Tourist Town in Taiwan
A powerful earthquake rattled the northeastern city of Hualien in Taiwan, killing at at least ten people and injuring more than 200.
The magnitude 6.4 tremor struck 22 kilometers north of the city late Tuesday, causing massive destruction. The quake devastated bridges and roads. It toppled buildings and authorities feared many people were trapped under the rubble.
A multi-story building is tilting perilously in the disaster-hit city, and local authorities reported at least 58 people are still trapped inside.
The deadly quake also destroyed the homes of hundreds of local Hualien residents. The residents are now sheltered at the Hualien Stadium, provided with emergency supplies by relief organizations. Water is also a problem, as tens of thousands of residents were still without water.
The island is regularly hit by earthquakes. In fact, a magnitude-6.4 quake hit the island in 2016, killing 40 people. The biggest earthquake in recent memory took place 1999 when a 7.3 quake killed 2,400 people.
Massive Rescue and Search Operation Underway
To look for survivors who were trapped in the rubble and tilting buildings, Taiwan’s government deployed 600 military personnel and more than 750 firefighters to comb through the rubble and bolster rescue efforts.
Rescue efforts are a priority on a residential building where certain parts of the lower floors collapsed, causing the 12-story structure to lean at an unsettling 40-degree angle. Scores of rescue workers had gathered around the building, using cranes, excavators, ladders and their bare hands to scrape away the concrete for presumed trapped survivors.
As the search for survivors continues, the government warned residents to be more vigilant as it expects more aftershocks.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on Facebook, “Since the aftershocks are frequent, we urge all our compatriots … to remain vigilant and always pay attention to the correct message from the government. This is when the Taiwanese people show their calmness, resilience and love. The government will work with everyone to guard their homeland.”
She added in another post, “Keep hope, never give up, cheer for Hualien.”