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Taiwan Earthquake Rescuers Face Threat of Landslides, Rockfalls; Death Toll at 12

Editor

Laila Afifa

5 April 2024 18:00 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Hualien - Rescuers in Taiwan faced the threat of further landslides and rockfalls in Friday's search for a dozen people still missing from this week's earthquake, as the death toll rose to 12 while some of those stranded were brought to safety.

Searchers discovered two more bodies after Wednesday's quake of magnitude 7.2 struck the sparsely populated, largely rural eastern county of Hualien, stranding hundreds in a national park as boulders barrelled down mountains, cutting off roads.

About 50 aftershocks rattled the area overnight, some felt as far away as Taipei. Rescuers said about 400 people cut off in a luxury hotel in the Taroko Gorge national park were safe, with helicopters ferrying out the injured and bringing supplies.

"Rain increases the risks of rockfalls and landslides, which are currently the biggest challenges," said Su Yu-ming, the leader of a search team helping the rescue effort, pointing to expectations for rain.

"These factors are unpredictable, which means we cannot confirm the number of days required for the search and rescue operations."

Taiwan's fire department said two bodies were found in the mountains, but wanted to confirm their identities before updating the death toll.

It put the number of missing at 13, three of them foreigners of Australian and Canadian nationality.

Aid supplies are arriving at the scene, while senior politicians such as President Tsai Ing-wen said they were donating a month's salary to relief efforts.

Japan will provide $1 million in aid to Taiwan for rescue and recovery effort, its foreign minister, Yoko Kamikawa, said.



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