Taiwan rescuers search for survivors of magnitude-6.0 quake

by BLOOMBERG

Hundreds of rescuers are searching for people trapped in rubble after a magnitude-6.0 earthquake struck the east coast of Taiwan late Tuesday, killing at least four people and injuring more than 200 others.

The Central Emergency Operation Center said it knows of two people still trapped in the rubble of Hualien City’s Marshal Hotel as of 11 a.m. Wednesday. Some 145 people remained unaccounted for. Authorities said 225 people were injured during the quake that caused four buildings to collapse in Hualien. Among the injured were two Chinese tourists who have been taken to hospital, the Straits Exchange Foundation said in a text message.

“Rescue operations have been continuing night & day. We will not rest until all people are accounted for,” President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet Wednesday.

The 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck off Taiwan’s east coast at 11:50 p.m. local time on Tuesday, the Central Weather Bureau said. The epicenter was 18.3 kilometers (11.4 miles) northeast of Hualien with a depth of 10 kilometers. There were 130 aftershocks as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Offices and schools were closed in Hualien County Wednesday, the cabinet said in a text message. The quake cut power supply to 1,900 households and water for 40,000.

The impact of the quake was largely limited to the east coast. The Atomic Energy Council said all of Taiwan’s nuclear plants are operating normally while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. acting spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun said none of the company’s plants were affected.

On the same date two years ago, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit Tainan City in southern Taiwan and claimed more than 100 lives.