Taiwan quake toll rises, with many missing

Workers try to shore up tilted buildings after Taiwan quake

A magnitude 6.4 natural disaster struck just to the northeast of the city of Hualien in Taiwan late on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said, causing a hotel to collapse and forcing the closure of a nearby highway, the government said.

The Executive Yuan is to provide NT$300 million (US$10.25 million) in disaster relief funds in the wake of a devastating quake in Hualien County on Tuesday night, Premier William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday.

More than 100 people were killed in a quake in southern Taiwan in 2016, and some Taiwanese remain scarred by a 7.6 magnitude quake that was felt across the island and killed more than 2,000 people in 1999.

Emergency responders have rescued about 150 people from hotels and residential buildings that have partially collapsed in the city of Hualien.

The number of missing dropped to 88 from 145 by 3 p.m.as survivors were pulled from damaged buildings and officials lowered their tallies of people believed to be inside.

The lower basement and ground floor of the 10-storey Marshal Hotel gave way after the quake.

"Two people were unfortunately killed, and 114 have suffered light or severe injuries", Taiwan's Premier William Lai told an emergency government meeting.

In the telegram, Cardinal Parolin says that the Holy Father is praying for those who have lost their lives, as well as those who were injured in the quakes.

Two employees of the hotel were killed in the disaster, CNA said. The government said three mainland Chinese were among the dead.

An intergovernmental meeting is to be held to devise plans on repairing damaged roads and collapsed buildings, he added. Their efforts were halted temporarily Wednesday as the supports began to slide and the building tilted more, local officials said.

Considering the expected protracted time required to complete the rescue mission and restoration work, Lai said that all Cabinet agencies would do their utmost to "tide Hualien over". Aftershocks have continued today in Taiwan.

About 40,000 homes are without water, and highways and bridges have been are closed.

Hualien is home to about 100,000 people.

Taiwan has been hit by a second quake in two days. On Sunday an quake with a magnitude of 6.1 struck nearby.

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