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Taiwan rescuers rush to save trapped miners day after earthquake

4th April 2024

By: Bloomberg

  

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Taiwan’s emergency response units worked through the night to rescue over one hundred miners and hotel staff and tourists who remain trapped in rubble and other debris more than a day after the island was struck by its biggest earthquake in 25 years.

With most damage from Wednesday’s 7.4-magnitude quake located near the epicenter on Taiwan’s eastern side, rescue efforts have focused on people missing or trapped in the higher elevation terrain around greater Hualien, home to a popular national park and Taiwan’s cement mines.

Rescue teams say they are working to clear blocked roads and collapsed tunnels by 8:00 p.m. local time on Thursday.

The government said nine people were confirmed killed by the temblor. Meanwhile, the number of people trapped increased overnight to 101, a total that includes about 64 miners as well as dozens of staff at a five-star hotel in the mountains.

The total cost of the damage hasn’t been calculated. Yet even as rescue efforts proceeded, Taiwan’s high-tech economy went into recovery mode, with its semiconductor industry resuming most operations that had been paused when the quake hit Wednesday morning and employees were evacuated.

Building codes and regulations revised after a 1999 earthquake that killed more than 2,400 people appear to have helped keep damage and casualties relatively low.

Several world leaders expressed their concern about the impact of the quake and extended offers of aid. But in a sign that political tensions with China remain high, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council rejected an offer of assistance from Beijing — which considers the self-governing island part of its territory.

Edited by Bloomberg

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