Taiwan quake: Aftershocks briefly rattle buildings on Monday as rescuers search for six still missing including Singaporean couple

A search-and-rescue team prepares to enter a building following the 7.4-magnitude earthquake in Hualien, Taiwan. - PHOTO: NYTIMES via The Straits Times/ANN

TAIPEI (Reuters/Bloomberg): Buildings shook briefly during an earthquake in Taiwan’s capital Taipei on Monday (April 8).

Taiwan has been rocked by hundreds of aftershocks following a 7.4-magnitude earthquake that hit the east of the island on April 3, killing at least 13 people.

Rescuers are racing to find six people still listed as missing in mountainous terrain five days after the quake, which was Taiwan’s most powerful in 25 years.

An Australian-Singaporean couple and a mother and her two young children are among those still unaccounted for after last week’s quake, Taiwan’s emergency operation centre said at a briefing on April 8. All five were hiking on a trail in eastern Taiwan’s Taroko Gorge, one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations.

Rescuers are searching the area of a rock slide for the mother and her children, officials said. The bodies of the woman’s husband and daughter have already been recovered from the rubble.

The latest deaths bring the total number of fatalities from the earthquake to 13, officials said on April 8. Almost 1,150 people have been reported injured. In addition to the five hikers, an employee at a nearby limestone mine is also still missing.

The early-morning quake levelled buildings in the eastern city of Hualien when it struck shortly before 8am on the morning of April 3. It measured 7.4 in magnitude, according to the US Geological Survey.

Taiwan, which uses a slightly different measure, estimated it as 7.2 and said it was the biggest seismic event to hit Taiwan since 1999. That year, a 7.7-magnitude quake hit the centre of the island, killing more than 2,000 people.

Rescuers managed to free more than 600 people trapped by landslides and collapsed buildings across Taiwan at the weekend. But the race to locate the six remaining missing people faces increasing challenges as colder, rainy weather envelops the east of the island this week.

Frequent aftershocks also continued to hit the area on April 8, the strongest of which measured 4.8 on the Richter scale, according to Taiwan’s weather administration. - REUTERS/BLOOMBERG

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