Rescuers try to look for victims at the site where a building collapsed during an earthquake in Tainan City, southeast China's Taiwan, Feb. 6, 2016. A 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit an area near Tainan of Taiwan at 03:57 a.m. Beijing Time on Saturday, damaging several buildings, leaving at least seven people dead and hundreds injured, according to the island's disaster response center. (Xinhua/Zhang Guojun) (lfj)
Rescuers try to look for victims at the site where a building collapsed during an earthquake in Tainan City, southeast China's Taiwan, Feb. 6, 2016. A 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit an area near Tainan of Taiwan at 03:57 a.m. Beijing Time on Saturday, damaging several buildings, leaving at least seven people dead and hundreds injured, according to the island's disaster response center. (Xinhua/Zhang Guojun) (lfj)

The disaster caused the total collapse of eight buildings and the partial collapse of another five in worst-hit Tainan City.

Rescuers try to look for victims at the site where a building collapsed during an earthquake in Tainan City, southeast China's Taiwan, Feb. 6, 2016. A 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit an area near Tainan of Taiwan at 03:57 a.m. Beijing Time on Saturday, damaging several buildings, leaving at least seven people dead and hundreds injured, according to the island's disaster response center. (Xinhua/Zhang Guojun) (lfj)
Rescuers try to look for victims at the site where a building collapsed during an earthquake in Tainan City, southeast China’s Taiwan, Feb. 6, 2016. A 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit an area near Tainan of Taiwan at 03:57 a.m. Beijing Time on Saturday, damaging several buildings, leaving at least seven people dead and hundreds injured, according to the island’s disaster response center. (Xinhua/Zhang Guojun) (lfj)

Altogether, 318 people have been hospitalized, according to the island’s medical and health authority.
Among those killed are a 10-day-old baby girl and a 40-year-old man.

By 1:20 p.m., 246 people had been evacuated from the collapsed 17-story Wei Guan building in Yongkang District of Tainan, leaving 10 residents unaccounted for, according to the rescue command center for the building.

A total of 256 people were registered as living inside the high-rise in more than 90 households.

With the Wei Guan building lying on the ground, firefighters and soldiers used ladders, excavators and other equipment to pull survivors out of rubble and through twisted windows.

A survivor who had just been rescued when a Xinhua reporter arrived at the scene was conscious on the stretcher. After rescuers asked him about the locations of other people trapped, he was rushed to a medical station for further treatment.

A lady, who only gave her surname as Cheng, was anxiously waiting beside the cordon outside the building for her brother, sister-in-law and their two daughters still trapped.

“Their mobile phones are disconnected,” she said. “Their landline rings but no one answers.”
Apart from firefighters, the island has dispatched about 850 soldiers for the rescue, said Chen Wei-zen, head of the island’s interior affairs authority, at a press conference in the morning.

Tainan is the main focus of their rescue efforts, according to Chen.

Authorities will need to find places to accommodate a large number of displaced residents, in freezing weather that has aggravated the situation.

Chen said the government will invite nearby hotels, temples, barracks and schools to meet the demand.
The Chinese mainland has offered to help Taiwan following the quake.

While addressing a Chinese New Year gathering on Saturday morning, Premier Li Keqiang sent condolences to the victims of the disaster.

The mainland’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) had been in contact with Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) since 6 a.m., around two hours after the quake. The ARATS has sent a letter to the SEF offering rescue assistance if needed.

The State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office also kept contact with Taiwan’s mainland affairs authority and expressed willingness to offer help if the Taiwan side has need.

The mainland’s Red Cross Society has offered 2 million yuan (304,268 U.S. dollars) of disaster relief funds to Taiwan.

The earthquake hit Kaohsiung city at a depth of 15 km at 3:57 a.m. Beijing Time on Saturday, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center, which said the quake had a magnitude of 6.7.

The epicenter was monitored at 22.94 degrees north latitude and 120.54 degrees east longitude.
Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring center put the scale of the quake at 6.4-magnitude, saying it was centered about 27 km northeast of Pingtung county seat.

Earthquakes frequently jolt Taiwan. Most of them are minor ones, but a 7.3-magnitude quake, the strongest to hit Taiwan in about 100 years, shook the island on Sept. 21, 1999, leaving more than 2,000 people dead. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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