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Sunday 4 December 2016

Taiwan quake leaves many trapped

Wally Santana Taipei

Published 06/02/2016 | 02:30

Taiwan earthquake Photo: Reuters
Taiwan earthquake Photo: Reuters

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan last night, toppling a complex of two high-rise residential buildings where rescuers pulled out more than 160 people. More were still believed to be trapped inside.

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Firefighters scrambled to the sites with ladders, cranes and other equipment and pulled survivors from the buildings that were lying on one side of the road in the southern city of Tainan, footage from local TV broadcasters showed.

Among the survivors, Taiwan's official news agency said a 10-day-old infant and a 40-year-old man were found in critical conditions when they were pulled out of a 17-story Wei Guan residential building.

Last night, 127 people had been pulled from the rubble, and at least 29 were injured.

The Central News Agency said that about 200 people were believed to have been living inside in about 60 households.

Rescuers also pulled out 34 people from another Wei Guan high-rise, which had 16 floors and housed 150 families. The road where the building was located had gas leaks and water pipe ruptures, the agency said.

Several other buildings had also collapsed or had been partially damaged.

As dawn broke, live Taiwanese TV showed survivors being brought gingerly from the building, including an elderly woman in a neck brace and others wrapped in blankets.

People with their arms around firefighters were being helped from the building, and cranes were being used to search darkened parts of the structure for survivors.

Newscasters said other areas of the city were still being canvassed for possible damage.

The Taiwanese news website ET Today reported that two buildings toppled in Tainan, and that some water and gas utility pipes had ruptured.

It said a mother and a daughter were among the 34 people pulled from one of the Wei Guan buildings and that the girl drank her urine while waiting for rescue, which came sooner than expected. It said the building could have had 300 to 400 people at the time of the quake.

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