10 people dead, many more missing in Taiwan natural disaster

10 people dead, many more missing in Taiwan natural disaster

10 people dead, many more missing in Taiwan natural disaster

Rescue teams and army soldiers are continuing their efforts to find survivors in the rubble of quake-hit Hualien city on the eastern coast of Taiwan with the casualty figures expected to rise, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Taiwan's central government on Thursday declined disaster relief aid from China and other countries, with the exception of Japan, in the wake of a magnitude 6.0 quake which struck Hualien County in eastern Taiwan late Tuesday, causing loss of life and serious property damage. Hualien is close to Taroko National Park, where the famous Taroko Gorge cuts down through the mountains to the sea.

The death toll from the powerful 6.4-magnitude natural disaster that rocked Taiwan this week climbed to 10 Thursday, as rescuers continue to search for seven others.

Rescuers worked their way around and through the building while residents looked on from behind cordoned-off roads.

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

One member of staff has been rescued, but another two are said to be still be trapped in the building. The gray tile and glass Yun Men Tsui Ti building, which sits next to a park along the Meilun River, had a small hotel, a hot pot restaurant and apartments. Seven had been staying at a bed-and-breakfast called the Beauty Inn inside the building.

"We can only pray that she is safe", he said.

"Someone was waiting for me outside, (saying), 'Give me your hand, ' and pulled me out", she said.

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau says there have been 130 aftershocks in the past 24 hours, keeping residents on edge.

Fu Kun-Chi, head of Hualien County, said large machinery will clear the site of the collapsed Marshal Hotel and two tilted buildings on Friday morning.

One appeared dazed as rescue workers escorted him out.

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Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center said rescue efforts in one area were briefly halted over safety concerns.

"It requires a thorough technical inspection, which may take two to three months", he said, adding that factors such as the nature of the soil and how quake waves passed through the building could have played a part. The son survived the quake with light injuries.

Japan's Foreign Ministry said nine Japanese were among the injured.

Hualien has about 100,000 residents and is a popular tourist destination.

Photos on state media showed the narrow highway in and out of the gorge on Wednesday morning covered in rocks, rubble and other debris from the natural disaster.

Hualien is home to about 100,000 people.

The earthquake's epicentre was about 9.5 kilometres deep and 21 kilometres northeast of the city, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Taiwan is located within the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", an area known for its intense seismic activity.

The island is regularly rocked by earthquakes.

The Manila Economic Cultural Office (MECO) in Taiwan has identified the overseas Filipino worker who went missing in Taiwan after the island nation was struck by a 6.4-magnitude quake Tuesday night.

The country suffered a strong 7.6-magnitude tremor in 1999, which killed at least 2,415 people. Electricity and water were also unavailable in thousands of homes today in the region.

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