14 dead, over hundred missing as strong quake hits Taiwan

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taiwan-earthquake-2016TAINAN- A powerful earthquake struck Taiwan early on Saturday killing at least 14 people, most in a 17-storey apartment building that collapsed, with more than hundred people still known to be missing in the ruins of the complex as night fell, government officials said.

Nearly 340 people were rescued from the rubble in Tainan, the city hit worst by the quake. About 2,000 firefighters and soldiers scrambled with ladders, cranes and other equipment to the ruins of the 17-floor residential building.

Local authorities said Saturday night that more than 100 people remained missing and that rescuers were racing to find them. Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reported that 172 people were missing.

Hundreds of people were injured in the quake, but most of them had been released from hospitals by Saturday night.

The building had 256 registered residents, but far more people could have been inside when it fell because the population might have swelled ahead of the holiday, when families typically host guests.

Local media said the building included a care center for newborns and mothers, and a newborn was among those killed in the disaster.

Most people were asleep when the magnitude-6.4 earthquake hit at about 4 a.m., 35 km southeast of Yujing. It struck only 10 km underground, according to the US Geological Survey.

Authorities in Tainan said that of the 14 people killed in the quake, 11 were found at the ruins of the fallen building.

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