Search operations intensified in Taiwan

Another strong quake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale had struck off the coast of Hualien on Sunday.

"We have not seen a sign of a slowdown yet", he said.

On Wednesday, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said the island had enough manpower and resources for the rescue efforts and it did not need outside help.

As of 6pm, statistics from the Central Emergency Operation Center showed that five of the deceased were Taiwanese, three were Chinese and one a Philippine woman.

Taiwanese rescuers Thursday braved aftershocks coursing through a dangerously leaning apartment block that was partially toppled by a deadly natural disaster, as their search for survivors uncovered two more bodies.

Two people were killed and 219 others injured on Wednesday after a 6.5-magnitude natural disaster hit Taiwan.

"That fear is still there", she said. Over 140 individuals have not been accounted for.

The Japanese team arrived in Taiwan at about 2 p.m. Thursday.

One hotel employee was killed after the ground floor caved in. A auto sat submerged in rubble as rescue workers combed through the ruins of a nearby building. At least 53 people were still reported missing inside as of Wednesday, including 13 at a bed-and-breakfast called the Beauty Inn located on the lower floors of the commercial and residential building.

More than a hundred rescue workers were around the building, including military personnel and volunteers who were distributing food and hot drinks.

Hualien, whose rugged Pacific coastline and picturesque Taroko Gorge National Park are a major tourist draw, is home to about 100,000 people.

Two shelters have been set up. The force of the tremor late Tuesday buckled roads and disrupted electricity and water supplies to thousands of households.

Bridges and some highways were closed pending inspections.

Speaking from a crisis center in Taipei, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung said rail links appeared to be unaffected and the runway at Hualien airport was intact.

He said the priority was to let people return home to check on loved ones.

Eight people were still unaccounted for in Hualien on Thursday afternoon, all of whom were believed to have been living or temporarily staying at the now badly damaged and tilting Yun Men Tsui Ti building, officials said.

The Marshal Hotel in downtown Hualien was one of the buildings that collapsed, the Hualien Police Department said.

The quake hit the island nation 11:50 pm (local time) (3.50pm GMT) on Tuesday, around 21 kilometres, northeast of the port city of Hualien, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).


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