7 Dead as 6.4 Earthquake Hit Taiwan
The iSavta Team | 12.11.2019
TAIWAN - A magnitude of 6.4 earthquake striked Taiwan on Saturday, February 6 at around 3 o'clock in the morning. The quake trampled down a 16 storey apartment building complex full of families who had gathered together for the Chinese New Year. 7 are reported dead while several others were injured. Two Filipino nationalities were among those who were injured and was rushed to the hospital.
Among the seven dead is a 10-day old baby girl according to the National Fire Agency. She was one of the five people who died when the building collapsed.
The two other victims were killed from falling debris from other parts of the city, the agency said.
As of the moment, the government is still not sure how many people are still trapped under the destroyed building. The agency estimated around 30 people are still under the rubble.
Residents of the fallin Wei-Kuan apartment complex building told stories about the terror they've experienced when the earthquake hit. Most of them were just pulled out bleeding and crying.
"I saw buildings shake up and fell down left and right", said one resident.
"The first and second floor fell down and I smelt gas and water was leaking"' he added.
Another man tied his clothes together to create a rope and lowered himself from his home on the ninth floor to the sixth floor below. One woman told how she had fought her way out of her home.
Rescuers have freed more than 200 people from the apartment complex, with over 40 of them hospitalized.
Interior minister Chen Wei-jen said he feared there may be more people in the building than usual as family members would have returned to celebrate the Lunar New Year holidays next week.
"Exactly how many people were there when the quake hit was not immediately clear. We are concerned that most members of those families may have returned for the coming new year holiday.", said Chen.
Officials said there were 256 people registered as living in the complex, which contained 96 apartments.
Dazed and exhausted residents stood outside the toppled buildings, watching rescue workers free survivors – from infants to the elderly, some strapped to stretchers – and carefully hand them down ladders.
Eight shelters have been set up around the city, with over 100 people taking refuge there.
As Premier Chang San-cheng visited the disaster zone, one elderly woman wept, saying her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren were still trapped on the 15th floor, Apple Daily reported.
President Ma Ying-jeou also visited Tainan to be briefed by city officials.
Cranes towered over the zone with diggers trying to remove slabs of concrete.
Separately, at least 30 people were earlier freed from another residential 7-storey tower, with officials saying several blocks had collapsed or half collapsed in other parts of the city, with some buildings left leaning at alarming angles.
China has offered rescue assistance if needed, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Across Tainan, 316 people were injured, with more than 60 hospitalized, officials said, but the search and rescue operation was focused purely on the Wei-kuan complex.
The shallow quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles) at around 4:00 am (2000 GMT Friday), 39 kilometers northeast of Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second-largest city and an important port.
Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.
A strong 6.3-magnitude quake that hit central Taiwan in June 2013 killed four people and caused widespread landslides.
A 7.6-magnitude quake struck the island in September 1999 and killed around 2,400 people.
Source: Rappler Philippines