Three rescued two days after Taiwan quake

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Beijing, Feb 8 (IANS) At least three people, including an eight-year-old girl, were rescued on Monday from a high-rise apartment building badly damaged by a powerful quake in Taiwan.

The girl, who lived on the fifth floor of the Wei Guan building, was dehydrated but conscious when rescued and was taken to hospital for treatment, Xinhua reported.

Rescuers were trying to free another survivor they found on the same floor, a 28-year-old Vietnamese woman whose body was still partly trapped in the rubble. The work could take up to an hour, the rescuers said.

If successful, she will be the fourth survivor freed on Monday — the first day of the Year of the Monkey according to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar — by rescuers who are racing against time in the search for those still alive.

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Earlier in the day, a man named Li Tsung-tian was pulled out alive and conscious after being trapped for some 56 hours since Saturday’s quake.

He was rushed to hospital for treatment but may have to undergo amputation for injuries on the left leg.

Before that, rescuers saved a woman who was partly shielded by her dead husband, on the seventh floor of the Wei Guan building.

So far, Saturday’s 6.7 magnitude earthquake, which struck just two days ahead of the traditional Chinese New Year, has killed at least 38 people.

More than 100 people are still believed to be under the debris, stoking fears that the eventual toll could top 100 as the likelihood of survivors fades away.

Rescuers were scrambling through the wreckage to search for survivors. So far they have been able to confirm signs of life on the top floor of the building, and will begin rescue work after the Vietnamese woman was saved.

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Taiwan is frequently rattled by earthquakes. Most cause little or no damage, although a 7.3 magnitude quake, the strongest to hit Taiwan in about 100 years, left more than 2,000 people dead in 1999.

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