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Mainland ready to help after Taiwan quake kills 6, injures over 200

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-02-08 01:03

HUALIEN, Taiwan - The Chinese mainland is willing to send rescue teams after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit Taiwan late Tuesday, killing six and injuring 258.

There were still 67 people missing as of 10:30 pm Wednesday, with most of them trapped in the Yun Men Tusi Ti building in Hualien county, according to the local disaster relief administration.

Four buildings in Hualien have partially collapsed or tilted due to the strong quake, including the Yun Men Tusi Ti building, Marshal Hotel and two residential buildings. The first two floors of the Marshal Hotel have caved into the ground, according to Taiwan's emergency operation center.

Rescuers found two people in the damaged hotel Wednesday afternoon, one was still alive after being trapped for nearly 15 hours, but the other had died.

A total of 1,044 rescuers have been dispatched after the earthquake.

Six tourists from the mainland have been sent to a hospital in Hualien.

Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, received details about the casualties, property losses, and rescue work via a phone call with Fu Kun-Chi, head of Hualien county.

Zhang expressed deep sympathy to all the victims and sincere regards to Taiwan compatriots who suffered, saying that people from the mainland were deeply concerned about the earthquake and sympathized with their Taiwan compatriots.

"We hope local people will overcome the difficulties and rebuild their homes at an early date," he said.

Chen Deming, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, said the mainland is willing to assist with the quake relief, including sending rescue teams to the island.

"The mainland is learning about the conditions of mainland tourists, students, and spouses living in disaster-hit areas," said An Fengshan, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

The All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots also expressed sympathy to residents of the quake-hit areas in a letter, saying Taiwanese living on the mainland are ready to offer as much help as they can.

The Red Cross Society of China has decided to provide 1 million yuan ($159,619) for rescue operations, saying that it is also ready to send rescue teams to Taiwan.

According to the China Earthquake Networks Center, the earthquake jolted waters near Hualien at 11:50 pm Tuesday. The epicenter was monitored at 24.13 degrees north latitude and 121.71 degrees east longitude, with a depth of 11 kilometers.

The earthquake was followed by at least 160 aftershocks including several measuring over magnitude 5 as of 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.

It is the most severe earthquake to hit Hualien in five decades, according to Fu, the head of Hualien county.

The highway from Suao to Hualien was temporarily closed. The earthquake also caused 200 households to lose power and 35,000 households to lose water supply, the local fire agency said.

Taiwan's earthquake experts said more quakes might occur in the coming weeks.

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