HUALIEN, Taiwan (Reuters) – Rescuers combed through the rubble of collapsed buildings on Wednesday, some using their hands as they searched for about 150 people missing after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck near the popular Taiwanese tourist city of Hualien overnight.
At least two people were killed and 219 injured in the quake that hit near the coastal city just before midnight (1600 GMT) on Tuesday, officials said. The latest figures from government data indicated at least 149 people were missing.
Many of those were believed to be still trapped inside buildings, including a military hospital, after the quake hit about 22 km (14 miles) northeast of Hualien on Taiwan’s east coast.
Residents waited and watched anxiously as emergency workers dressed in fluorescent orange and red suits and wearing helmets searched for residents trapped in apartment blocks.
Hualien is home to about 100,000 people. Its streets were buckled by the force of the quake, with around 40,000 homes left without water and more than 600 without power.
Emergency workers surrounded a damaged military hospital in the area. Windows had collapsed and the building was wedged into the ground at a 40-degree angle.
Rescuers worked their way around and through the building while residents looked on from behind cordoned-off roads.