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Over 100 Missing and 26 Dead from Taiwan Earthquake


Rescuers continue to search for people as they pull  more survivors from the remains of a high-rise residential building that collapsed in a powerful earthquake in southern Taiwan.

The quake hit just before dawn and caused a high-rise residential building to collapse, killng at least 26 people.

Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te said in interviews from the site of the building collapse that there was an estimated 124 still trapped, many at the bottom of the wreckage.

Lai said that they had been able to rescue many people by using information from residents who got out on the possible locations of those still inside.

Nearly 340 people were rescued from the rubble of the 17-floor residential building, located in the city of Tainan.

The building had 256 registered residents, but more people were estimated to be inside because of the Lunar New Year celebrations scheduled to begin in a couple of days. The celebrations attract more people into the city as families typically host guests.

Most residents were asleep when the magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck at 4 a.m.
"I went to the top floors of the middle part of the building, where we found five people, one of whom was in bed and already dead," said Liu Wen-bin, a 50-year-old rescuer from Taichung. "Some people were found in the shower, some in the bedroom."
The high-rise building "first starting shaking horizontally, then up and down, then a big shake right to left," said Tainan resident Lin Bao-gui, a secondhand car salesman whose cars were smashed when the building collapsed across the street from him.
"I stayed in my bed but jumped up when I heard the big bang that was the sound of the building falling," he said.

The local media said the building included a care center for newborns and mothers, and a newborn was among the dead in the disaster.

Elsewhere in Tainan, dozens of other people were rescued or safely evacuated from damaged structures or buildings declared unsafe following the quake, including a market and a seven-floor building, authorities said. A bank building also careened, but no one was injured or trapped.

Throughout Tainan, more than 337 people were rescued, the city government said.


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