Taipei, Feb 7 (IANS) The death toll in the Taiwan earthquake climbed to four on Wednesday, while 225 people were reported to have been injured in the 6.5-magnitude earthquake that had struck on Tuesday night.
Search operations were ongoing to find 145 people who went missing in the quake mostly from the residential and commercial floors of the Yunmen Cuidi building, according to the Central Emergency Operation Centre.
The 6.5-magnitude quake occurred at 11.50 pm on Tuesday night with its epicentre located at 18.3 kilometres north-northeast of the city of Hualien, Efe news reported.
“Rescue operations have been continuing night and day. We will not rest until all are found,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on her official Twitter account.
She had also visited the injured in hospitals and praised the first responders “for their tireless efforts”.
The areas worst affected in the quake are located close to the eastern city of Hualien — the Hualien and Yilan districts — although tremors were felt throughout the island and had forced people out of their homes.
Search teams managed to rescue 235 people, trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings in Hualien, including the worst-hit Yunmen Cuidi building and Hotel Tongshuai, where the lower floors had collapsed completely.
Two hotel employees, buried under the rubble of the hotel, were able to contact rescue teams. Out of the 830 people, who were evacuated, 643 took refuge in temporary shelters.
While the country is slowly returning to normalcy, water and electricity are yet to be fully restored in Hualien, while serious damage to underground gas pipelines have been reported.
Several buildings sustained structural damages, with two hospitals and the Hotel Meilun tilting precariously after suffering damage in the quake.
The quake also reportedly triggered landslides which affected the country’s main Suhua highway and the state highway 11.