Japan sends quake rescue team, equipment to Taiwan
02:05, Feb 9, 2018
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Rescuers rushs against time to search for survivors from a damaged building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, 08 February 2018, after a magnitude 6.4 natural disaster hit Hualien on the night of 06 February 2018. At least 7 people are dead, reports SF Gate, and more than 60 people are missing. As many as 150 were initially feared missing.
The powerful 6.4-magnitude tremor struck at 23:50 (15:50 GMT) about 20km (12 miles) off the island's east coast.
At least four midsized buildings in worst-hit Hualien county leaned at sharp angles, their lowest floors crushed into mangled heaps of concrete, glass, iron and other debris.
"I didn't really dare stay at home", said Hualien resident Yang Yantin.
"We've never had anything like this; we've never had a building topple over".
Six of the aftershocks registered over 5 on the Richter Scale.
The agency says 219 people were injured, two dozen of them critically, in Hualien county. Electricity and water were also unavailable in thousands of homes today in the region. Water supply had returned to almost 5,000 homes by noon, while power was restored to around 1,700 households.
Rescuers worked their way around and through the building while residents looked on from behind cordoned-off roads.
Residents of Hualien have been told to stay away from their damaged homes, and hundreds have taken shelter in community buildings because of the aftershocks. A auto sat submerged in rubble as rescue workers combed through the ruins of a nearby building.
Local media and observers said Taipei's decision to allow the Japanese team to assist in the rescue operation but reject Beijing's offer was understandable at a time when cross-strait ties had deteriorated.
Authorities "would not give up" on disaster relief efforts, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said during her second visit to the quake-hit area on Thursday.
While earthquakes were common, he added, it was rare to have so many quakes in short succession.
The Manila Economic Cultural Office (MECO) in Taiwan has identified the overseas Filipino worker who went missing in Taiwan after the island nation was struck by a 6.4-magnitude quake Tuesday night.
Rescuers have so far managed to save around 200 people, reporting also that 265 were injured.
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