The death toll from the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that rattled the nation on Sunday rose to four yesterday after two more victims were confirmed dead, the Central Emergency Operation Center said.
On Sunday, the center said that a 54-year-old man, surnamed Liu (劉), and a 50-year-old man, surnamed Hsiao (蕭), were killed by falling rocks in Chiayi County and Nantou County’s Shueili Township (水里) respectively.
The center said that a 69-year-old man, surnamed Liang (梁), and a 35-year-old man, surnamed Yang (楊), were also killed as a result of the earthquake.
Photo: Hsieh Chieh-yu, Taipei Times
Liang was reportedly hit by falling rocks while traveling in Nantou County’s Lugu Township (鹿谷).
He was pronounced dead early yesterday morning.
Yang was fishing in a river in Jhushan Township (竹山) when the earthquake struck.
Rescuers first found his backpack and other personal belongings yesterday morning and his body in the debris at 12:16pm.
As of 5pm yesterday, four people had been confirmed dead and 19 were injured by the earthquake.
Meanwhile, about 50 residents trapped in Dili Village (地利) in Nantou County’s Sinyi Township (信義) were able to leave the area after the Directorate-General of Highways cleared part of the Dili section of Highway 16 yesterday afternoon.
The Ministry of Education said that 160 schools were damaged by the earthquake, with estimated losses exceeding NT$12.35 million (US$410,000).
Lugu Junior High School in Nantou County, which was rebuilt after the 921 Earthquake in 1999, was closed yesterday due to severe damage.
However, many students and teachers voluntarily returned to the school to clean up the debris.
“All our wonderful memories are on this campus. I really wanted to graduate from here,” a female student said in tears.
Seismology experts cautioned that more earthquakes exceeding magnitude 6 could occur in Nantou County in the next few months.
“The epicenters of the magnitude 6.2 earthquake on March 27 and the one on Sunday were only about 4.2km apart,” Central Weather Bureau Seismology Center director Kuo Kai-wen (郭鎧紋) said. “The causes of these two earthquakes were very similar as well.”
Though the 921 Earthquake and Sunday’s earthquake happened on different fault lines, the bureau said that the two quakes were related.
Hongey Chen (陳宏宇), a professor of geology at National Taiwan University, said that a number of earthquakes since the 921 Earthquake had created of a decollement zone, a boundary separating deformed strata from underlying strata which are not similarly deformed.
“The energy generated by the compression of the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian Plate has converged in this decollement [a gliding plane between two rock masses] zone,” Chen said.
Meanwhile, the Interchange Association, Japan, said its Taipei Office Director Sumio Tarui has extended his condolences to the families of the victims.
Tarui sent a letter to Association of East Asian Relations Chairman Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) to express sympathy over the earthquake, the de facto Japanese consular office said in a statement yesterday.
Tarui also offered his best wishes for the speedy recovery of the injured, the Interchange Association said.
China has also expressed sympathy.
Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Fan Liqing (范麗青) said that Chinese people were concerned about the deaths and damage caused by the quake.
“We send regards to the Taiwanese people affected by the temblor and extend condolences to the families of those killed in the earthquake,” Fan said.
“We hope that the residents of quake-affected areas can overcome the hardships caused by the disaster and resume their normal lives as soon as possible,” Fan said.
China is willing to lend a helping hand if Taiwan needs any assistance in its relief or rehabilitation efforts, she added.
Additional reporting by CNA
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the