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Strong earthquake hits northeastern Japan, tsunami warning issued

A magnitude 7.4 quake has struck off the Japanese coast near Fukushima, triggering a tsunami warning. The region suffered a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in 2011 causing a meltdown at a nearby nuclear plant. A major earthquake hit northeastern Japan early on Tuesday, causing authorities to issue a tsunami warning and thousands of residents to be evacuated from their homes. The 7.4 magnitude quake struck off the coast of Fukushima, home to a nuclear power plant that suffered a dangerous meltdown after a massive offshore tremor caused a tsunami in 2011. The earthquake was also felt in Tokyo, some 285 kilometers (177 miles) away. Japan’s Meteorological Agency warned coastal residents that the waves could be 3 meters (10 feet) high and urged them to flee to higher ground. Once the waves reached shore, however, they appeared to be about 1 meter tall. Tsunami warnings were also issued for the prefectures of Miyagi, Ibaraki, Aomori, and Chiba. The warnings were lifted after a few hours. The quake that caused the Fukushima meltdown, one of the worst atomic disasters in history, was magnitude 9.1 and sent a 40.5 meter (133 feet) wave over the town. Some 18,000 people were killed and more than 220,000 displaced by the catastrophe. Japanese authorities have issued a statement saying there were no abnormalities at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as the waves made landfall. Speaking from Buenos Aires, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised to do his utmost to respond to the earthquake. Initial reports indicated that there had been no deaths, and only minor injuries. After the 2011 incident, all nuclear plants near Japan's coasts were shut down as a precaution. Only two are currently operating, both in the southwest of the country.

A magnitude 7.4 quake has struck off the Japanese coast near Fukushima, triggering a tsunami warning. The region suffered a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in 2011 causing a meltdown at a nearby nuclear plant. A major earthquake hit northeastern Japan early on Tuesday, causing authorities to issue a tsunami warning and thousands of residents to be evacuated from their homes. ... Read More »

3 things you need to know about Italy, the Norcia earthquake and ‘airbag’ housing

It's impossible to predict earthquakes. We know that. We also know regions such as the Apennines in Italy are prone to shake. There's little we can do but build resistant housing. Here's why. A brief history of Italian quakes Italy has experienced 125 "significant earthquakes" since 1900. Twelve of those earthquakes struck in the past 16 years. They range from a magnitude of 3.5 in 1973 to magnitude 7.9 in 1905. At magnitude 6.2, the earthquake on 24 August 2016 was the eighth strongest in the region since the turn of the last century. The 2009 L'Aquila quake measured 6.3. A US National Centers for Environmental Information database lists 318 significant earthquakes in Italy since 1450 BC, including one at Pompeii in 63 AD. A meeting of tectonic plates The US Geological Survey says the region around the earthquake's epicenter at Norcia is "tectonically and geologically complex." The quake resulted from a "shallow normal faulting" in the Central Apennines. The Apennines is a mountain range running the length of Italy from north to south. It was formed due to a process known as "subduction," where tectonic plates collide. Now this very region is being torn apart. One of the main complexities is the meeting - and parting - of the African and Eurasian plates. The Eurasia plate moves in a northeasterly direction at about 24 millimeters (about 1 inch) per year. A housing issue We often focus on the number of deaths caused by earthquakes - and it stands to reason. But the damage caused to buildings is often far greater in pure numbers. A September 1997 earthquake in Umbria and Marche killed between 11 and 14 people (depending on the source of information), injured 100 people, and destroyed 800,000 homes. It was part of the "Umbria-Marche Seismic Sequence," which involved eight shakes over two months. The US Geological Survey says housing in central Italy ranges from "vulnerable" to "earthquake resistant." Vulnerable buildings tend to be made of unreinforced brick with mud and mid-rise non-ductile concrete frames. In Japan, a company called Air Danshin Systems has been working on houses that levitate during earthquakes to make them more resistant to damage. The house sits on a deflated airbag. When it detects a quake, air is pumped into the airbag, lifting the house about 3 centimeters above its concrete foundation. The system has been described as "airbag" housing. Well, whatever works.

It’s impossible to predict earthquakes. We know that. We also know regions such as the Apennines in Italy are prone to shake. There’s little we can do but build resistant housing. Here’s why. A brief history of Italian quakes Italy has experienced 125 “significant earthquakes” since 1900. Twelve of those earthquakes struck in the past 16 years. They range from ... Read More »

Death toll in Italy earthquake climbs as Renzi promises quick government response

اٹلی میں کل بدھ کے روز آنے والے زلزلے کے نتیجے میں ہلاکتوں کی تعداد مزید اضافے کے بعد قریب ڈھائی سو ہو گئی ہے۔ ریکٹر اسکیل پر چھ اعشاریہ دو کی شدت کے اس زلزلے میں کئی اطالوی پہاڑی قصبے بری طرح تباہ ہو گئے تھے۔ وسطی اٹلی کے قصبے اماتریس سے جمعرات پچیس اگست کو ملنے والی نیوز ایجنسی روئٹرز کی رپورٹوں کے مطابق بہت تباہ کن ثابت ہونے والے اس زلزلے کے نتیجے میں ہلاکتوں کی تعداد آج صبح تک کم از کم 247 ہو چکی تھی جبکہ زخمیوں اور لاپتہ افراد کی تعداد بھی سینکڑوں میں بنتی ہے۔ بدھ کو رات گئے تک ان ہلاکتوں کی مصدقہ تعداد 159 تھی۔ یہ زلزلہ وسطی اٹلی کے ایک ایسے پہاڑی علاقے میں آیا تھا، جہاں ان جھٹکوں کے نتیجے میں متعدد پہاڑی قصبے بری طرح تباہ ہو گئے اور کئی مقامات پر سینکڑوں مکانات بھی منہدم ہو گئے۔ تباہی کے شکار علاقوں میں امدادی کارکن متاثرین کی مدد کرنے کی پوری کوششیں کر رہے ہیں لیکن پھر بھی سینکڑوں شہریوں نے کل رات کھلے آسمان کے نیچے گزاری۔ ریکٹر اسکیل پر 6.2 کی شدت کا یہ زلزلہ اطالوی دارالحکومت روم سے 85 میل یا 140 کلومیٹر کے فاصلے پر ایک پہاڑی علاقے میں آیا تھا لیکن یہ طاقت ور جھٹکے شمال اور جنوب میں دو دو سوکلومیٹر سے بھی زیادہ فاصلے پر واقع شہروں نیپلز اور بولونیا تک میں بھی محسوس کیے گئے تھے۔ شہری دفاع کے ملکی محکمے کے مطابق اب تک اگرچہ قریب ڈھائی سو شہریوں کی ہلاکت مصدقہ ہے تاہم خدشہ ہے کہ مرنے والوں کی تعداد میں مزید اضافہ ہو سکتا ہے کیونکہ ابھی تک بہت سے افراد لاپتہ ہیں اور امدادی کارکنوں کو خدشہ ہے کہ کئی شہری ابھی تک ملبے تلے دبے ہو سکتے ہیں۔ یہ زلزلہ مقامی وقت کے مطابق بدھ کی صبح پانچ بجے کے قریب آیا تھا جب مقامی باشندوں کی اکثریت اپنے گھروں میں سو رہی تھی۔ زلزلے نے جن چار پہاڑی قصبوں کو سب سے زیادہ متاثر کیا، وہ اماتریس، پیسکارا ڈیل ٹرونٹو، آرکُوآتا ڈیل ٹرونٹو اور آکُومولی تھے۔ ان میں سے اماتریس اور آکُومولی نامی قصبے تو وہ ہیں، جو دونوں کے دونوں کم از کم تین چوتھائی تک تباہ ہو گئے۔ بہت زیادہ جانی نقصان اس لیے بھی ہوا کہ ان دنوں اٹلی کے اس پہاڑی علاقے میں موسم گرما کا سالانہ سیاحتی سیزن اپنے عروج پر ہے، جس دوران بہت بڑی تعداد میں سیاحوں کی آمد کے باعث مقامی آبادی عارضی طور پر ہی سہی لیکن معمول سے دس گنا تک زیادہ ہو جا تی ہے۔ روئٹرز نے اطالوی شہری دفاع کے اہلکاروں کا حوالہ دیتے ہوئے لکھا ہے کہ اس زلزلے کے باعث زخمی ہونے والوں میں سے کم از کم 270 افراد مختلف ہسپتالوں میں زیر علاج ہیں جبکہ مجموعی طور پر پانچ ہزار کے قریب امدادی کارکن، پولیس اہلکار، فوجی اور رضاکار امدادی اور بحالی سرگرمیوں میں مصروف ہیں۔ آج جمعرات کے روز روم میں اطالوی کابینہ کا ایک اجلاس بھی ہوا، جس کی صدارت کرتے ہوئے وزیر اعظم ماتیو رینزی نے متاثرہ علاقوں میں امدادی سرگرمیوں کا جائزہ لیا۔ بعد ازاں وزیر اعظم رینزی نے صحافیوں کو بتایا، ’’آج تو آنسوؤں کا دن ہے، تعمیر نو کی بات کل کی جائے گی۔‘‘

At least 250 people have lost their lives in an earthquake that devastated parts of Italy earlier this week. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised action to prevent such a tragedy from occuring again. Authorities on Thursday said they expected the death toll to rise even further, as rescue teams continued to search for people buried beneath the rubble. The magnitude-6 ... Read More »

Death toll from Italian earthquake soars to 247 and is expected to rise further

اٹلی کے وسطی حصے میں بدھ چوبیس اگست کی صبح آنے والے ایک طاقت ور زلزلے کے نتیجے میں متعدد پہاڑی قصبے تباہ جبکہ کم از کم 73 افراد ہلاک ہو گئے ہیں۔ ایک درجن سے زائد افراد صرف ایک قصبے پیسکارا ڈیل ٹرونٹو میں مارے گئے۔ اطالوی دارالحکومت روم سے ملنے والی نیوز ایجنسی روئٹرز کی رپورٹوں میں بتایا گیا ہے کہ شہری دفاع کی ملکی تنظیم اب تک کم از کم 73 افراد کی ہلاکت کی تصدیق کر چکی ہے جبکہ زخمیوں کی تعداد بھی سو سے زائد بتائی جا رہی ہے۔ امریکی جیولوجیکل سروے کے مطابق ریکٹر اسکیل پر اس زلزلے کی شدت 6.2 ریکارڈ کی گئی اور اس کی وجہ سے کئی پہاڑی قصبے بری طرح تباہ ہو گئے۔ روئٹرز نے اپنی رپورٹوں میں لکھا ہے کہ کئی علاقوں میں بہت سے مقامی باشندے تباہ ہو جانے والے مکانات کے ملبے تلے دبے ہیں جبکہ بسیوں شہری تاحال لاپتہ ہیں۔ جرمن نیوز ایجنسی ڈی پی اے نے اپنی رپورٹوں میں لکھا ہے کہ یہ زلزلہ آج علی الصبح اس وقت آیا جب متاثرہ علاقوں میں عام شہریوں کی اکثریت ابھی اپنے گھروں میں سو رہی تھی۔ اس زلزلے نے سب سے زیادہ تباہی ملکی دارالحکومت روم سے قریب 85 میل یا 140 کلومیٹر کی دوری پر واقع ایک پہاڑی علاقے میں مچائی، جہاں دیکھتے ہی دیکھتے بہت طاقت ور جھٹکوں نے بہت سے گھروں کو زمین بوس کر دیا۔ اس زلزلے کے طاقت ور جھٹکے اس کے مرکز سے شمال اور جنوب میں واقع اطالوی شہروں بولونیا اور نیپلز تک میں بھی محسوس کیے گئے۔ زلزلے کے مرکز سے دونوں طرف واقع ان شہروں کا فاصلہ 220 کلومیٹر سے بھی زیادہ بنتا ہے۔ زلزلے کے بعد اطالوی شہری دفاع کی طرف سے جاری کردہ تباہی کے تصویری مناظر میں دیکھا جا سکتا ہے کہ کس طرح ان جھٹکوں نے اماتریس کے قصبے کو بالکل زمین کے برابر کر دیا اور قریبی قصبے آکُومولی کی گلیاں بھی تباہ شدہ مکانات کے ملبے سے بھری پڑی ہیں۔ روئٹرز نے آکُومولی کے میئر سٹیفانو پیترُوچی کے بیان کا حوالہ دیتے ہوئے لکھا ہے، ’’دن چڑھنے سے قبل آنے والے اس زلزلے کے بعد ہم دن کی روشنی میں یہ دیکھنے کے قابل ہوئے کہ اس قدرتی آفت نے کتنی تباہی مچائی ہے۔ یہ منظر اس سے کہیں زیادہ خوفناک ہے، جتنا کہ ہم نے سوچا تھا۔ مکانات منہدم ہو چکے ہیں، لوگ ملبے کے نیچے پھنسے ہوئے ہیں اور کہیں سے کوئی ایسی آواز نہیں آتی، جو زندگی کا پتہ دیتی ہو۔‘‘ دیگر رپورٹوں کے مطابق اس زلزلے نے جن علاقوں میں سب سے زیادہ تباہی مچائی، وہاں امدادی کارکن متاثرین کو ملبے کے نیچے سے نکالنے میں مصروف ہیں اور جہاں ابھی تک ایمرجنسی سروسز کے کارکن نہیں پہنچ سکے، وہاں مقامی باشندے اپنے ہاتھوں سے ملبہ ہٹاتے ہوئے نیچے دبے لوگوں کو نکالنے کی کوششیں کر رہے ہیں۔ اس زلزلے کے حوالے سے یہ بات بھی اہم ہے کہ اس علاقے میں یہ تباہی موسم گرما کے عروج پر اور سال کے ایسے ہفتوں میں آئی ہے، جب وہاں چھٹیاں گزارنے کے لیے آنے والے سیاحوں کی وجہ سے مقامی آبادی عارضی طور پر بہت بڑھ جاتی ہے۔ سال کے دیگر مہینوں میں وسطی اٹلی کے اس پہاڑی علاقے میں سیاحوں کی تعداد نہ ہونے کے برابر رہ جانے کی وجہ سے مقامی آبادی قدرے کم اور صرف اس علاقے کے رہائشیوں پر مشتمل ہوتی ہے۔ زلزلے سے تقریباﹰ پوری طرح تباہ ہو جانے والے قصبے اماتریس کے میئر سیرجیو پیروزی نے نیوز ایجنسی اے ایف پی کو بتایا، ’’اس قصبے میں تباہی اتنی زیادہ ہوئی ہے کہ اماتریس کا تین چوتھائی حصہ بالکل ناپید ہو گیا ہے۔ اب ہمارا مقصد ایسے زیادہ سے زیادہ افراد کی جانیں بچانا ہے، جو ابھی تک ملبے کے نیچے دبے ہوئے ہیں۔‘‘

The death toll in Italy’s Marche region has soared – the area having been packed with summer vacationers. Hundreds of aftershocks have been felt in the hours since the quake struck, including one that registered 5.5. As the death toll climbs from a devastating earthquake across central Italy rescuers are racing to find survivors buried under mountains of rubble. The ... Read More »

UN plans summit to rethink aid for global crises

The UN has announced the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, to take place in Istanbul, to call for new aid funds. But fewer than half of the UN's 193 member states have confirmed their attendance so far. The planned turnout was described as "so far encouraging," by Stephen O'Brian, the UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, as he announced the aid summit on Monday. Some 80 countries have already accepted an invitation to attend, and 45 of them will be represented by their heads of state or heads of government, O'Brian added. He declined to name the countries or leaders attending the May 23-24 conference in Turkey. But other dignitaries confirmed include private sector leaders, heads of humanitarian organizations and representatives of civil society, affected communities and youth. The three-day event has been called as aid agencies attempt to develop new strategies to address worsening humanitarian crises and the rising cost of aid efforts, O'Brien said. He added that aid agencies need to find ways to deliver humanitarian assistance "more efficiently, more effectively and in a more financeable way." More funds needed The UN estimates that, in 2015, at least 125 million people were in dire need of assistance and the funds required to help them reached an all-time high of 16.9 billion euros ($19.5 billion.) But they said there was a record 47 percent shortfall - or 8 billion euros - in aid donated. Around 17.4 billion euros will be required in 2016, five times the amount a decade ago. Earlier this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the world had a shared responsibility to close the gap in the aid shortfall, which ought to be possible in a 68 trillion euro global economy, and that is the focus of the summit. Also on Monday, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson promised Nepalese farmers that he would bring their urgent need for assistance to the Istanbul summit. At the end of a three-day mission to Nepal exactly a year after a powerful earthquake killed 8,000 people, Eliasson said: "I will bring your message back to the UN and to the world through the World Humanitarian Summit. You can be assured we will not forget you." More than 3.5 million people were made homeless following the quake and the farmers have struggled to continue tending to the land after regular water sources dried up. Other major humanitarian crises, including the Syria, Iraq and Yemen conflicts, have left millions displaced and in urgent need of aid. They've also led to a major migration crisis affecting several Middle Eastern and European countries.

The UN has announced the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, to take place in Istanbul, to call for new aid funds. But fewer than half of the UN’s 193 member states have confirmed their attendance so far. The planned turnout was described as “so far encouraging,” by Stephen O’Brian, the UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, as he announced the aid ... Read More »

Major earthquake strikes Ecuador

At least 233 people have died after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Ecuador. Vice President Jorge Glas has called for an evacuation of coastal areas as a precaution against rising tides. The quake, which was the strongest to hit Ecuador since 1979, flattened hundreds of buildings across several towns and cities. A local official in the town of Pedernales, near the epicenter, appealed for earth-moving equipment and additional rescuers as local teams struggled to cope with the disaster. "This wasn't just a house that collapsed, it was an entire town," said Pedernales' Mayor Gabriel Alcivar. On Sunday, officials said the death toll had climbed to at least 233, while 578 people were confirmed as injured. The toll continued to rise throughout the day, and authorities have declared a state of emergency in six provinces: Esmeraldas, Los Rios, Manabi, Santa Elena, Guayas and Santo Domingo. More than 10,000 members of the security forces were being mobilized but rescuers struggled to reach many of the worst-hit areas due to landslides. The tremor could be felt as far away as the capital, Quito, which lies about 170 kilometers (105 miles) from the epicenter. Buildings in the city showed signs of cracks and some residents lost power and telephone services. Several other cities suffered damage too. A bridge collapsed in the port city of Guayaquil, and in Manta the airport was forced to close after the control tower was damaged. Earlier, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves ranging from 0.3 to 1 meter (1 to 3 feet) could impact some coastal areas. But later it reported the tsunami threat had mostly passed. Vice President Jorge Glas called for people in coastal areas to evacuate as a precaution against rising tides. President Rafael Correa, who was in Rome after attending a papal conference, is now on his way back to Ecuador. The US Geological Service said the earthquake's epicenter was near the town of Muisne, a sparsely populated area in the south-southeast of the country. It occurred at a depth of 19 kilometers (12 miles).

At least 233 people have died after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Ecuador. Vice President Jorge Glas has called for an evacuation of coastal areas as a precaution against rising tides. The quake, which was the strongest to hit Ecuador since 1979, flattened hundreds of buildings across several towns and cities. A local official in the ... Read More »

Major earthquake strikes Ecuador

At least 77 people have died after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Ecuador. Vice President Jorge Glas has called for an evacuation of coastal areas as a precaution against rising tides. The quake, which was the strongest to hit Ecuador since 1979, flattened hundreds of buildings across several towns and cities. A local official in the town of Pedernales, near the epicenter, appealed for earth-moving equipment and additional rescuers as local teams struggled to cope with the disaster. "This wasn't just a house that collapsed, it was an entire town," said Pedernales' Mayor Gabriel Alcivar. Authorities have declared a state of emergency in six provinces: Esmeraldas, Los Rios, Manabi, Santa Elena, Guayas and Santo Domingo. At least 77 people were killed and 578 injured in the quake, which struck after nightfall. More than 10,000 members of the security forces were being mobilized but rescuers struggled to reach many of the worst hit areas due to landslides. The tremor could be felt as far away as the capital, Quito, which lies about 170 kilometers (105 miles) from the epicenter. Buildings in the city showed signs of cracks and some residents lost power and telephone services. Several other cities suffered damage too. A bridge collapsed in the port city of Guayaquil, and in Manta the airport was forced to close after the control tower was damaged. Earlier, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves ranging from 0.3 to 1 meter (1 to 3 feet) could impact some coastal areas. But later it reported the tsunami threat had mostly passed. Vice President Jorge Glas called for people in coastal areas to evacuate as a precaution against rising tides. He warned that the death toll was likely to rise. President Rafael Correa, who was in Rome after attending a papal conference, is now on his way back to Ecuador. The US Geological Service said the earthquake's epicenter was near the town of Muisne, a sparsely populated area in the south-southeast of the country. It occurred at a depth of 19 kilometers (12 miles).

At least 77 people have died after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Ecuador. Vice President Jorge Glas has called for an evacuation of coastal areas as a precaution against rising tides. The quake, which was the strongest to hit Ecuador since 1979, flattened hundreds of buildings across several towns and cities. A local official in the ... Read More »

More than 100 still missing after earthquake in Taiwan

Rescuers have pulled more survivors from the remains of a high-rise apartment block which collapsed in Taiwan after a powerful earthquake. Many remain buried in the ruins, as hopes of finding survivors grow dim. The death toll after the quake in southern Taiwan rose to 34 as emergency workers dug for survivors of the 6.4-magnitude quake that toppled a 16-story complex of almost 100 homes in the city of Tainan. The government confirmed that at least 171 people had been rescued alive from the building. Meanwhile the Tainan Disaster Emergency Center estimated that about 118 people were still trapped there, many presumed to be at the bottom of the wreckage. Two of the trapped, a man and a woman at different sides of the building, were reportedly communicating with rescue workers on Sunday evening, raising hopes that survivors could still be found under the debris. Emergency workers used cranes, ladders and sniffer dogs, hoping to dig out further survivors. Officials said an investigation had been launched into the safety of the residential units in the complex. Local media reported that the construction company that had built the complex in 1989 had gone out of business, raising questions over the quality of the materials used. The collapsed apartment building was home to about 250 people in 96 households. Rising number of survivors Several survivors were pulled from the rubble more than 24 hours after the quake struck, as rescuers urged those still trapped to remain strong in a race against time. Among those rescued was 20-year-old Mao Yi-chen, who was pulled out soon after the quake hit before dawn on February 6. Her older sister Mao Yi-hsuan was pulled out a day later and remained in a serious condition. Among the fatalities was a 6-month-old baby pulled from the rubble and rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A deceased man believed to be her father was pulled out 40 minutes later. The Tainan Disaster Emergency Center said that at least 30 of the confirmed deaths from the earthquake were from this building's collapse. While much of the rescue effort focused on the collapsed apartment block, nine other buildings have also fallen elsewhere in the city. More than 100 people were rescued from other parts of Tainan, eight of whom had to receive hospital treatment. The quake struck at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers (six miles) at around 4:00 am local time on Saturday morning (2000 UTC/GMT on Friday), with its epicenter located 39 kilometers northeast of the island's second-largest city of Kaohsiung. Chinese New Year With Sunday marking the eve of the Lunar New Year and the beginning of Chinese New Year celebrations, the most important family holiday in the Chinese calendar, the mood in Taiwan ahead of the celebrations appeared to be rather subdued after the quake. President Ma Ying-jeou and president-elect Tsai Ing-wen both canceled the traditional handing out of envelopes of cash in their hometowns, a holiday tradition upheld by Taiwan's leader. Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan, as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates. Most tremors cause little or no damage, however, a magnitude-7.6 quake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed about 2,400 people.

Rescuers have pulled more survivors from the remains of a high-rise apartment block which collapsed in Taiwan after a powerful earthquake. Many remain buried in the ruins, as hopes of finding survivors grow dim. The death toll after the quake in southern Taiwan rose to 34 as emergency workers dug for survivors of the 6.4-magnitude quake that toppled a 16-story ... Read More »

Rescuers seek more than 130 still missing after Taiwan earthquake

Rescue workers in Taiwan are continuing their search for more than 130 people believed missing in a collapsed apartment tower in the southern city of Tainan. At least 19 people died in Saturday's earthquake. Rescuers pulled a 20-year-old man from the rubble of the Wei-guan Golden Dragon Building in Tainan on Sunday, more than a day after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan, television stations reported. The apartment building collapsed in Saturday's early morning earthquake; 132 people are believed to be trapped beneath the rubble. All but 30 are thought to be deep within the wreckage. "We will focus our resources on the 29 who are closest to the rescuers," Tainan Mayor William Lai told reporters early Sunday. He added that the cold weather had made conditions difficult, and said it could take several hours to clear the rubble to access the area where people are believed to be trapped. At least 19 people are known to have died in the earthquake, with its epicenter in the south of the island. The quake struck at the start of the Lunar New Year holiday when many people were traveling to spend time with their families. Authorities said the collapsed building had 96 apartments and 256 registered residents, but more people were inside when it collapsed. Rescuers have already taken 240 survivors from the ruins. Taiwan's Central News Agency reported that 484 people had been injured, but all were released from hospitals by Saturday night. Buildings in nine other locations in the city also collapsed. Five were left tilting at alarming angles. The country's interior minister said there would be an investigation into the construction standard of the 20-year-old Wei-guan Golden Dragon Building, to find out why it collapsed while other residential blocks withstood the quake. The building included a care center for newborn babies.

Rescue workers in Taiwan are continuing their search for more than 130 people believed missing in a collapsed apartment tower in the southern city of Tainan. At least 19 people died in Saturday’s earthquake. Rescuers pulled a 20-year-old man from the rubble of the Wei-guan Golden Dragon Building in Tainan on Sunday, more than a day after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake ... Read More »

Rescuers search for survivors in southern Taiwan earthquake

Taiwan's Tainan city government has reported 221 people rescued, 154 hospitalized and five dead after a major earthquake toppled buildings in the early hours of Saturday. Rescue teams are searching through the rubble. The shallow earthquake struck early on Saturday morning when most people in the southern city of Hainan were asleep. The 6.4 magnitude quake struck at about 4 a.m. local time (2000 UTC). At a depth of just 10 kilometers (six miles), it was followed by a series of aftershocks of 3.8-magnitude or more about half an hour after the intial quake. The Tainan city emergency response center said the death toll had risen to five with 155 people injured. The news website ET Today reported that 318 people had been taken to hospital. Taiwan's official news agency said a 10-day-old baby and a 40-year-old man were pulled out of a 16-story Wei Guan residential building and were later declared dead. The 16-story residential complex which contained almost 100 homes fell to the ground. Residents described what had happened: "I saw buildings shake up and down and left and right," said one resident, who added, "The first and second floor just collapsed and I smelt gas and water was leaking." The quake hit a day before the eve of the Lunar New Year, a time of family celebrations. Interior minister Chen Wei-jen said it was unclear how many people were in the Wei Guan complex, adding, "We are concerned that most members of those families may have returned for the coming New Year holiday." "Four buildings have collapsed in Tainan City area. Search and rescue is under way," Lin Kuan-cheng, spokesman for the National Fire Agency, told the AFP news agency. The epicenter of the quake was under the central mountain range of Taiwan, 43 kilometers (27 miles) southeast of Tainan, a city of nearly 2 million people and 38 kilometers (24 miles) northeast of Kaohsiung, the island's main port city. The Taiwan China Post newspaper said on its website: "Collapsed buildings reported in Tainan, with rescue workers arriving on scene. The city government there has set up a level one emergency response center. Onlookers are urged not to block access to emergency crews moving into the area." More than 200 firefighters, 1,350 volunteers, 70 trucks and 27 ambulances are involved in the rescue operation. China offered assistance in a letter, which expressed condolences to those who suffered in the quake. China considers the island of Taiwan to be a province of the People's Republic. Quake effects The quake caused significant disruptions. The high-speed rail service was suspended in the southern region while lines were inspected for damage. It also disrupted 69 power lines and affected more than 121,000 households, according to Taiwan Power. The effects of the quake were felt throughout the island, including at the concert venue of US rock star Madonna, currently on tour with her band. "We are all ok ... Hope that was the end of it," her manager Guy Oseary wrote on Instagram from Taipei. Taiwan sits in a zone between the Philippine Sea and Eurasian plates and is seismically active. In 1999 a magnitude 7.6 temblor hit the island's central region, killing about 2,500 people.

Taiwan’s Tainan city government has reported 221 people rescued, 154 hospitalized and five dead after a major earthquake toppled buildings in the early hours of Saturday. Rescue teams are searching through the rubble. The shallow earthquake struck early on Saturday morning when most people in the southern city of Hainan were asleep. The 6.4 magnitude quake struck at about 4 ... Read More »

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