Taiwan earthquake death toll rises to 37
BEIJING: Rescuers dug out two more bodies from under the debris of a collapsed residential complex in southern Taiwan on Monday morning, bringing the total toll of an earthquake that hit the island early Saturday to 37.
The number includes at least 10 children, according to local authorities.
The newly found victims, a 45-year-old man surnamed Hsu and his two-year-old son, were pulled out from the toppled Wei Guan building in Yongkang District of Tainan city, which bore the brunt of the quake. They were already deceased when discovered.
Hsu’s wife, however, was found alive and conscious, but in a critical condition. She was rushed to the local hospital’s ICU for treatment.
Another man named Li Tsung-tian was also rescued hours later on Monday morning. He was conscious and talking to rescuers when lowered from the wreck via a crane, but rescuers said he may have to be receive amputations for his injuries.
Rescuers said they have identified several other signs of life inside the building and are searching through the rubble for more survivors.
Monday marks the first day of the Year of the Monkey according to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. But celebrations were subdued for locals as family members of those who lived in Wei Guan stood around in the cold waiting for news of missing relatives.
The 6.7-magnitude quake hit Taiwan’s Kaohsiung city at 3:57 a.m. Beijing Time on Saturday, just two days ahead of the lunar New Year. Local monitoring authorities put the scale of the quake at 6.4-magnitude.
Over 110 people are believed to be still buried under the rubble of the collapsed Wei Guan building.
Of the 37 confirmed deaths, 35 were found in the 16-storey building, which folded like an accordion after the quake, exposing twisted metal girders.
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.