Sun, Feb 07, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Tainan reels after 6.4 quake

RESCUE WORK CONTINUES:At least 15 people were reported dead after several buildings collapsed in Tainan. Rescuers are working through the night to look for people who might be trapped inside

By Wu Chun-feng, Jason Pan and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters, with agencies

The main defense troop detachment for southern Taiwan, the 8th Army Command, has also set up a joint military operations command center in Tainan to coordinate medical and rescue operations by various military units, it said.

Lieutenant General Chi Lien-cheng (季連成), who heads the 8th Army Command based in Kaohsiung’s Cishan District (旗山), said the army’s 54th Engineering Corps had deployed crane lifts and other heavy machinery to set up flood lights, enabling rescuers to work through the night as they search for people trapped in buildings.

Six medical teams from the 8th Army Command, along with five medical teams from the Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital, arrived in Tainan, where they set up mobile field hospitals.

Officials from the air force’s 433rd Tactical Fighter Wing, which is headquartered at the Tainan Air Base, said it has turned the base into a temporary shelter that can accommodate up to 1,400 people whose houses were damaged by the quake.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said it had launched six regional emergency operations centers at 4am yesterday and asked all hospitals to report the latest disaster relief situation.

Although the quake was felt throughout the nation, the most severe disaster was centered in Tainan. The first 72 hours after the quake are critical for rescuing people trapped under collapsed buildings, the ministry said, adding that 26 of its hospitals are participating in the emergency relief and support efforts.

Emergency relief is mainly provided by Tainan Hospital and its Sinhua Branch, while psychological trauma treatment is provided by Jianan Mental Hospital. Other hospitals will provide standby support, it added.

A 24-hour care and consultation hotline (0926-560-713) has been set up at the Jianan Mental Hospital, the ministry said.

The ministry has also set up a toll-free 24-hour care hotline (0800-788-995) for disaster victims who need psychological support.

The Financial Supervisory Commission said it had tasked the Taiwan Residential Earthquake Insurance Fund with coordinating with emergency response efforts. The commission also advised affected residents to notify their insurers to have their properties assessed for damage to expedite processing of their compensation claims.

Additional reporting by Ted Chen

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