Sun, Feb 11, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Three bodies recovered, two still missing in Hualien

Staff writer, with CNA

Rescue workers on Friday search for missing Chinese tourists in the collapsed Yun Men Tsui Ti building.

Photo: CNA, provided by the Hualien County Fire Department

Search-and-rescue workers yesterday found three bodies, with two people still thought to be trapped in a building in Hualien more than 80 hours after it partly collapsed in a magnitude 6.0 earthquake on Tuesday.

Two bodies were found at about noon in the Beauty Inn (漂亮生活旅店) in the Yun Men Tsui Ti (雲門翠堤) building, while the third was retrieved from the same hotel room at about 3pm, increasing the death toll to 15.

Two people remain unaccounted for and 280 were injured.

Search-and-rescue teams expect to find the other two in the same location. The five people are believed to be members of the same Chinese family who were staying at the hotel on the second floor.

The three bodies have not yet been identified, rescue workers said, adding that one of the three bodies is believed to be that of a young boy.

The family was visiting Taiwan and staying at the hotel when the quake struck. During the earthquake, the building tipped sideways and the first four floors collapsed.

Of the 15 confirmed deaths caused by the earthquake, 12 were in the Yun Men Tsui Ti commercial and residential complex.

The Hualien County Government said that as of yesterday, 751 people were staying at emergency shelters that are being operated by 32 teams of more than 1,000 volunteers.

Food, medical care, counseling, tutoring and telecom services are being provided at shelters, the county government’s Social Affairs Department said.

The county said it has all the relief supplies it needs, having received 16,490 items that have been divided into 115 supply types, including disposable tableware, toilet paper, wet wipes, children’s and adult diapers and toiletries.

As of Friday, the county government said it had received NT$600 million (US$20.4 million) in donations from Taiwan and abroad for disaster relief efforts through convenience stores and the Line Pay app.

The figure does not include pledged donations from the central government and lawmakers.

Donations for Hualien earthquake relief can be made to the county government’s earthquake relief fund, account number 0653-3981. Donors should specify that the funds are for earthquake relief.

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) thanked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) for their support in the rescue and relief efforts.

The Presidential Office yesterday said that Tsai expressed her gratitude to the two leaders and their countries in letters sent on Friday.

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