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April 6, 2024

Taiwan Earthquake Update: Over 1,000 Injured, Missing Hotel Workers Found Safe

Following the powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Taiwan, the tally of injured individuals surpassed 1,000, while the death toll held at nine. However, there was a glimmer of hope as most of the missing hotel workers, nearly two dozen of them, were located safe, offering relief amid the ongoing crisis.

The seismic event, deemed the most potent in a quarter-century, jolted the region on Wednesday morning, catching residents off guard as they prepared for their daily routines. Centered primarily in the rural and thinly populated county of Hualien, the earthquake’s impact reverberated across the island, including the capital, Taipei, although damages there remained minimal.

According to Taiwan’s fire department, the count of injuries surged to 1,050, with 52 individuals still unaccounted for. Encouragingly, a significant portion of the almost 50 hotel workers en route to a resort in Taroko National Park were located. These workers were initially trapped along the cross-island highway, a scenic route popular among tourists, due to the quake’s aftermath.

Drone footage provided by the fire department depicted scenes of relief as the stranded individuals, including hotel staff, were spotted waving from the roadside. Among them, a group of 26 workers was successfully located, offering a beacon of hope amidst the chaos.

In a dramatic rescue operation, a helicopter managed to extract six individuals trapped in a mining area, demonstrating the relentless efforts of emergency responders to reach those in need.

Despite the challenges posed by the earthquake, there were signs of progress as the railway line to Hualien resumed operations earlier than expected. However, one rural station north of Hualien city remained closed due to structural damage, according to railway authorities.

In Hualien city, where rescue operations have concluded, some residents opted to spend the night outdoors, seeking refuge from the continuous aftershocks that rattled the region. Among them was Yu, a 52-year-old resident, who sought solace in a temporary shelter, expressing fear over the relentless tremors and the condition of her apartment, which she described as chaotic.

“The aftershocks were terrifying. It’s nonstop. I do not dare to sleep in the house,” Yu remarked, reflecting the widespread anxiety gripping affected communities.

As rescue efforts continue and communities strive to recover from the earthquake’s aftermath, the discovery of the missing hotel workers serves as a poignant reminder of resilience and solidarity in the face of adversity.

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