Taiwan earthquake: Death toll rises to 10, over 1,000 injured, dozens trapped

UPI At least 10 people have been confirmed dead and 1,099 injured Thursday from the Taiwan earthquake that struck Wednesday. Rescuers continue to scour rubble for survivors. The Hualien Earthquake Central Emergency Operations Center said 705 people remain trapped. Photo courtesy of /Facebook

At least 10 confirmed dead and over a thousand injured as rescuers in Taiwan persist in searching for dozens missing and trapped amidst the rubble on Thursday, April 3, 2024.

The Hualien Earthquake Central Emergency Operations Center reported Thursday “a total of 10 fatalities, 1,099 injuries, 705 people trapped, and 11 people missing.”

The operations centre said the local fire department, cities and counties in the area dispatched 42 disaster relief vehicles and 220 people with 12 search and rescue dogs to search for trapped victims.

Due to the narrow road and frequent rockfalls on site, disaster relief operations are difficult, reports said.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare has been directed to establish a special account for donations through its affiliated Relieve Disaster Foundation. Contributions will be accepted for one month from April 4 to May 3, 2024.

The self-governing territory continues to reel from Wednesday’s strong magnitude 7.2 earthquake, the strongest to hit Taiwan in 25 years.

Some 300 aftershocks were recorded from Wednesday morning into Thursday, terrifying residents, according to Taiwan’s weather administration.

The powerful earthquake struck eastern Taiwan’s Hualien County minutes before 8 a.m. on Wednesday, causing severe damage, including buildings to collapse.

ALSO READ: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi declare states of disaster as drought ravages region, millions face hunger

As of 8 a.m. Thursday the number of people injured had climbed to 1,038, according to Taiwan’s National Fire Agency.

Responders were still working Thursday to rescue people trapped under rubble, it said. Of those trapped, 64 were located in the Heping Mine region.

Another 52 people have been reported missing. Emergency officials said the majority were employees of a hotel that were travelling aboard buses to Taroko National Park.

The park said on Facebook that several of its trails sustained “significant damage” and it will be closed until at least Sunday.

It added in a statement that some visitors had been injured on its trails during the temblor.

Meanwhile, the Central Disaster Response Center is warning the public that there is the possibility of further earthquakes.

“Please remain vigilant at all times, prepare for aftershocks, and be aware that mountain roads are prone to landslides and falling rocks after earthquakes,” Centimetre said in a statement.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Taiwan has been hit by nearly 50 aftershocks since the first earthquake struck.