Pope Francis prays for victims of Taiwan quake

08 February, 2018, 13:17 | Author: Diane Mills
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Rescuers in Taiwan searched badly damaged buildings early on Thursday (Feb 8), looking for 62 people missing after a powerful natural disaster hit the island's east coast.

After being inundated with hundreds of aftershocks, a magnitude 4.8 quake struck Hualien at 8:54 a.m. this morning at a shallow depth, resulting in high intensity level of 6 being felt in the county, according to Central Weather Bureau (CWB) data.

Four buildings collapsed, officials said, and eight people were still missing.

Hualien is a popular tourist destination and home to around 100,000 people. The government reported that two bridges in the city were either cracked or could not be used and that many roads were buckled and risky.

Engineers were frantically trying to reinforce the building today, drafting in huge concrete blocks and steel bars to stop any further collapse as rescuers carried out the unsafe task of searching the shattered concrete structure for survivors.

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.

"My bed turned completely vertical".

"Even tonight, we're going to sleep in the tent, I think", Grenier said.

Video footage and photos showed several midsized buildings in worst-hit Hualien county leaning at sharp angles, their lowest floors crushed into mangled heaps of concrete, shattered glass, bent iron beams and other debris. Authorities said on Wednesday they believed no one else was left inside. We dare not go back home now.

Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, was at the scene and said that Taiwan was grateful for the offers of assistance and support from the rest of the world.

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Pope Francis also expressed solidarity with the victims in a statement released by the Vatican.

One hotel employee was rescued from the basement and three others remain missing, officials said.

The woman, named as 39-year-old Yu Fei, was travelling with the couple's young son on the island.

"My family were unhurt, but a neighbour was injured in the head and is bleeding".

She added that she felt very scared and found it "unbelievable" that the hotel building near her home was so seriously damaged.

According to the national fire agency, four people were killed, while 225 were injured.

"It wasn't a normal natural disaster, there have been more than 100 aftershocks", said Wu Ching-hua, 62, a native of Hualien who woke early on Thursday at the school.

In fact, hit roughly the same region just northeast of the island on Sunday, and magnitude 4.5 or higher have shaken the city since Tuesday's quake.

Are you in the area?

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