Mainland ready to help after Taiwan quake kills 7, injures 254
The Chinese mainland is willing to send rescue teams after an earthquake of magnitude 6.5 hit Taiwan late Tuesday, killing seven and injuring 254.
More than 200 people have been rescued, but there are still 88 people missing, with most of them trapped in the Yun Men Tusi Ti building in Hualien County, according to the local disaster relief administration.
Six tourists from the mainland have been sent to a hospital in Hualien. One of the injured, a woman from southeast China's Fujian Province, was in a critical condition.
Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, received details about the casualties, property losses and rescue work through a phone call with Fu Kun-Chi, head of Hualien County.
Zhang expressed deep sympathy to all the victims and sincere regards to Taiwan compatriots who suffered, saying that people from the mainland were deeply concerned about the earthquake and sympathize with their Taiwan compatriots.
"We hope local people will overcome the difficulties and rebuild their homes at an early date," he said.
Chen Deming, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, also said the mainland was willing to assist with the quake relief, including sending rescue teams to the island.
"The mainland is learning about the conditions of mainland tourists, students and spouses living in disaster-hit areas," said An Fengshan, the spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.
The All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots also expressed sympathy to residents from the quake-hit areas in a letter, saying Taiwanese living on the mainland are ready to offer as much help as they can.
According to the China Earthquake Networks Center, the earthquake jolted waters near Hualien at 11:50pm on Tuesday. The epicenter was monitored at 24.13 degrees north latitude and 121.71 degrees east longitude, with a depth of 11 kilometers.
The earthquake was followed by a series of aftershocks including several measuring over magnitude 5.
It is the most severe earthquake to hit Hualien in five decades, and 26 aftershocks hit the county as of 9am on Wednesday, according to Fu, the head of Hualien County.
In Hualien, four buildings have partially collapsed or tilted, including Marshal Hotel and two residential buildings. The Marshal Hotel has caved in, with its first two floors caving into the ground, according to Taiwan's emergency operation center.
The highway from Suao to Hualien was temporarily closed.
The earthquake also caused 200 households to lose power and 35,000 households to lose their water supply, the local fire agency said.
Since February 4, more than 100 earthquakes have jolted the area. Taiwan's earthquake experts said more quakes might arrive in the coming weeks.