Rescuers searching for 100 missing after quake

2016-02-06 17:15
A canine rescue team searches for missing people in a collapsed building after an early morning earthquake in Taiwan. (Wally Santana, AP)


A canine rescue team searches for missing people in a collapsed building after an early morning earthquake in Taiwan. (Wally Santana, AP) .

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Tainan - Rescuers were on Saturday searching for more than 100 people still missing after a powerful, shallow earthquake struck southern Taiwan before dawn, causing a high-rise residential building to collapse, killing at least 14 people and injuring hundreds.

Nearly 340 people were rescued from the rubble in Tainan, the city hit worst by the quake. About 2 000 firefighters and soldiers scrambled with ladders, cranes and other equipment to the ruins of the 17-floor residential building, which folded like an accordion onto its side after the quake struck.

Local authorities said on Saturday night that more than 100 people remained missing and that rescuers were racing to find them. Taiwan's official Central News Agency reported that 172 people were missing.

The quake came two days before the start of Lunar New Year celebrations that mark the most important family holiday in the Chinese calendar. The building had 256 registered residents, but far more people could have been inside when it fell because the population might have swelled ahead of the holiday, when families typically host guests.

Local media said the building included a care centre for newborns and mothers and a newborn was among the dead in the disaster.

Most people were asleep when the magnitude-6.4 earthquake hit about 35km southeast of Yujing. It struck only 10km underground, according to the US Geological Survey.

Authorities in Tainan said 14 people were killed in the quake. At least 11 were found at the ruins of the fallen high-rise building.

Taiwan's Emergency Management Information centre said 477 people were injured, with 380 of them discharged from hospitals by Saturday evening.

Read more on:    taiwan  |  earthquakes

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