Earthquake hits Taiwan, killing eight people and injuring hundreds
8 February 2018
A magnitude-6.4 earthquake hit eastern Taiwan’s port city of Hualien just before midnight local time on Tuesday, causing some buildings to tilt severely and crumble. At least eight people were killed and over 260 injured. Rescue teams are still searching in the rubble for at least 60 missing people.
Built in 1977, the 10-storey Marshall Hotel’s lower floors collapsed, trapping residents and leaving the building slanting on its side. Many people remain stuck in the bottom two floors. Emergency workers used large beams, raised with a crane, to prop up the building in a bid to prevent it from toppling further.
Rescuers have been digging “nonstop on the backside of the building” in an attempt to rescue people caught on the lower floors, Hualien County fire commander Zhu Zhe-min said.
Six hundred military personnel and more than 750 firefighters have been aiding the rescue efforts, according to Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center. Volunteer rescue worker Yang His Hua said it was “the worst earthquake in the history of Hualien, or at least over the past 40 years that I’ve been alive.”
Apart from the Marshall Hotel, the worst-hit structures were in a nearby residential area. Five more buildings were badly damaged, including a hospital and the 12-storey Yunmen Tsuiti apartment block, which is now leaning at a more than 40-degree angle.
One Yunmen Tsuiti apartment resident told Agence France-Presse: “I saw the first floor sink into the ground. Then it sunk and tilted further and the fourth floor became the first floor.” An elderly resident who was inside his apartment at the time of the quake said: “Everything fell down. My bed was completely vertical,…