Taiwan Earthquake Toll: 9 Dead, Search On for 50 Missing

Wednesday's earthquake in Taiwan, the most powerful in at least 25 years, claimed the lives of nine individuals and left over 900 injured. Additionally, 50 workers, en route to a hotel in a national park, are currently missing after the tremor struck near the epicenter in the mountainous, sparsely populated county of Hualien. The 7.2 magnitude quake, occurring just offshore around 8 a.m. (0000 GMT), caused numerous buildings to tilt dangerously and triggered extensive landslides. The region experienced more than 50 aftershocks, according to meteorological officials. The earthquake, with a depth of 15.5 km (9.6 miles), occurred during the morning rush hour as people were commuting to work and school. Although it prompted a tsunami warning for southern Japan and the Philippines, the warning was later lifted.

Taiwan Earthquake

On Thursday, the official count of individuals trapped or stranded surged significantly, escalating from approximately 100 to 660, as phone signals gradually returned to the mountainous regions. Among those affected are mostly guests and staff of a remote hotel, unable to depart due to road damage. Authorities are presently strategizing the most effective means to evacuate them. Reports indicate that food supplies have been air-dropped to dozens of individuals confined in these areas.

One survivor, identified by the surname Chu, recounted the harrowing experience: "The mountain started raining rocks like bullets, we had nowhere to escape to, everyone ran beside the sandbags for cover," speaking to Taiwan's Central News Agency.

Taiwan

Of the nine casualties, three were hikers on a trail leading towards Taroko National Park, adjacent to Hualien. Relief efforts in Hualien city, the county capital, are in full swing, with workers employing excavators and heavy equipment to demolish several structurally compromised buildings.

The earthquake, striking 18km (11mi) south of Hualien, unleashed over 200 aftershocks, including dozens measuring at least 6.5 magnitude or higher, impeding search and rescue endeavors. Taiwanese authorities anticipate further aftershocks in the coming days.

Popular routes like Qingshui attract tourists for their breathtaking vistas spanning from the mountains to the Pacific Ocean. However, these paths are also recognized for their perilous nature, particularly due to the risk of landslides.

India issued an advisory for its citizens in Taiwan after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit the island on Wednesday morning. The India Taipei Association provided a helpline number (Mobile: 0905247906; Email: ad.ita@mea.gov.in) for Indian nationals requiring assistance or guidance. The association emphasized the importance of following advisories and guidelines issued by local authorities.

Also read: Portion of Guwahati airport ceiling collapses due to heavy rain, flights diverted

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