Filipina caretaker missing after Taiwan quake - MECO

Four people were killed, and more than 200 were injured when a 6.4-magnitude natural disaster rocked the city of Hualien on the east coast of Taiwan late Tuesday night local time.

Tuesday's quake followed about 100 smaller tremours that hit the area in the preceding three days, including two shocks, magnitude-5.3 and -6.1, recorded within 45 minutes of each other on Sunday night.

The national fire agency said seven people had been killed across the city, and 260 were injured. Many people remain stuck in the bottom two floors.

The missing people were all connected to the Yun Men Tsui Ti building, officials said.

Hualien mayor Fu Kun-chi said the number of people missing was now close to 60.

The group took with them specialist equipment for locating people trapped under debris, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

On Wednesday, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said the island had enough manpower and resources for the rescue efforts and it did not need outside help.

At the Yunmen Tsuiti building, clothes and other personal items were visible on the balconies as the rescue work continued. The rescuers went back inside when the tremors stopped.

Taiwan's fire and rescue service said one employee died after parts of the Marshal Hotel collapsed in Hualien county and another perished in a nearby residence. The angle is so sharp that the ground floor is crushed. He said the government would provide further updates on the situation later on Wednesday morning.

"My family were unhurt, but a neighbour was injured in their head and is bleeding".

Melinda Yu, a resident of the fifth floor on the now-listing side, said she was marking her 50th birthday in her apartment when the quake struck. "There are many aftershocks and we are anxious the home is damaged".

A maintenance worker who was rescued after being trapped in the basement of the Marshal Hotel, whose ground floor had caved in, said the force of the quake was unusual. "My bed was completely vertical, I was sleeping and suddenly I was standing".

"We saw his hair and were digging for some time", he told AFP.

While earthquakes are common in the area, the geology makes it rare to have many quakes in short succession, Chen said.

  • Stacy Allen