At least five dead as powerful quake hits southern Taiwan

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
At least five dead as powerful quake hits southern Taiwan

What we know so far

A powerful earthquake has toppled a 17-storey apartment block in southern Taiwan, killing at least five people, including a 10-year-old girl.

It triggered frantic efforts to rescue about 35 people feared trapped inside.

The baby and three of the other dead were from the collapsed building, a complex of towers whose floors pancaked down onto each other when the 6.4 magnitude tremor hit at around 4 a.m. local time, at the start of a Lunar New Year holiday.

Rescuers mounted hydraulic ladders and a crane to scour the wreckage, plucking 221 survivors to safety so far, with dozens taken to hospital, according to a fire brigade official.

Elsewhere in the city of two-million people, several buildings titled at alarming angles.

Survivors recall terror

“The building was shaking violently,” one man said, “the stairs was broken, so we went out from the window of the second floor.”

A woman added: “We were scared when our bodies leaned with the building, as we were sleeping.”

Quake stats

The quake was centred 27 miles (43 kilometres) southeast of Tainan, at a depth of 23 kilometres (14 miles), according to the US Geological Survey.

Several aftershocks shook Tainan, said Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau.

President to visit disaster areas

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, speaking to reporters in the capital before leaving for the disaster scene, said authorities were not clear on the extent of the disaster.

“We will do our utmost to rescue and secure (survivors),” said Ma.

Taiwan’s earthquake risk

Taiwan lies in the seismically active “Pacific Ring of Fire” zone. In 1999, it was struck by a magnitude 7.7 quake that killed more than 2,400 people. .