Earthquake Hits Taiwan - Many Injured Death Toll Expect to Rise

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On February 6, 2016, an natural disaster with a magnitude of 6.4 had struck 28 km northeast of Pingtung city in southern Taiwan, killing 117 people and injuring more than 550 people.

In a revised toll, the national fire agency said nine people had now been confirmed killed in the quake including three Chinese mainland nationals.

In all, 196 people have been rescued so far from four buildings that almost toppled.

One witness said the building sunk to the ground due to the natural disaster.

Hualien is famous for the Taroko Gorge and its attractive beach.

Facebook user Sun Chen-hsiang, who was livestreaming the scene at the hotel from a distance, told how the building next to his home had also collapsed.

MECO chief Angelito Banayo said the missing Filipina, Melody Albano Castro, is employed as a caretaker in an nursing home for the elderly at the devastated city of Hualien.

Another resident told AFP how an apartment block near his flat had also partially collapsed. "Then it sunk and tilted further and the fourth floor became the first floor".

People severely injured in the quake would receive NT$250,000, including NT$100,000 from the foundation, NT$100,000 from the county government and NT$50,000 from the ministry, the premier said. "Later, my entire family and all my neighbours ran out onto the street".

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"There were constant aftershocks so I didn't really dare stay at home". More than 200 aftershocks have been reported ever since.

Meanwhile, aftershocks continue to rattle Taiwan after Tuesday night's quake killed at least seven people.

Aside from the four toppled buildings, however, he said he had not heard of much significant damage, except for the odd wall falling over.

Authorities said some people remained trapped but were unable to give an overall figure.

According to the China Earthquake Networks Center, the earthquake jolted waters near Hualien County at 11:50 p.m. Tuesday.

A 5.7-magnitude tremor was felt late on Wednesday, in the same area where the 6.4-magnitude quake struck.

Most of the deaths from the February 2016 natural disaster were from the 16-storey Wei-kuan apartment complex, which toppled on its side with many of its residents buried in the rubble. At the start of the day, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen 145 people were unaccounted for; by nightfall, CNA reported that number had fallen to 66.

"We have strong earthquakes all the time in Hualien and it's really weird that our building collapsed", he told Reuters.

Pope Francis has expressed his solidarity with those affected by earthquakes in Taiwan, in a telegram sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to the Bishop of Hwalien.