Aftershocks hamper rescue efforts in Taiwan

It was the most severe quake to hit Hualien in the last five decades, according to Fu Kun-Chi, the head of Hualien County.

A female Philippine caregiver, identified as Melody Albano Castro, was confirmed dead in the quake that hit Hualien City in eastern Taiwan before midnight on Tuesday, according to reports.

The terrifying moment a deadly natural disaster struck Taiwan on Tuesday has been captured on camera.

Still, even amid dust and heavy rain and shattered glass, the scale of the devastation was becoming clear as night settled in: At least 10 people have died, more than 260 are injured and almost 60 remain missing, according to and figures from the National Fire Agency.

Dozens of residents - and several pets - were rescued with ropes, ladders and cranes.

Rescuers focused on the Yunmen Tsuiti residential building that was tilted at a almost 45-degree angle, erecting long steel beams to prevent it from collapsing. No one is any longer believed trapped above the second floor, he said. Four buildings collapsed, officials said, and those confirmed to have been killed included five locals, four mainland Chinese, and a Filipina. Seven had been staying at a bed-and-breakfast called the Beauty Inn inside the building.

"We're putting a priority on Hualien people being able to return home to check on their loved ones", Hsu said.

One of her neighbors is missing, she said early Thursday.

The Marshal Hotel in downtown Hualien was one of the buildings that collapsed, the Hualien Police Department said. The other didn't survive. Rescue efforts at the building were suspended because the structure was sliding, according to Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center. The son survived the quake with light injuries.

Japan's Foreign Ministry said nine Japanese were among the injured.

Rescue personnel work at a damaged hotel
Filipino caregiver missing after quake in Taiwan, says official

Tualien lies close to Taiwan's east coast. Others spoke of the panic when the quake struck.

"I didn't really dare stay at home", said Hualien resident Yang Yantin.

Tremors were also felt in the capital city of Taipei, according to the US Geological Survey.

After visiting the disaster scene in Hualien on Wednesday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took to Twitter to thank the first responders.

Taiwan is located within the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", an area known for its intense seismic activity.

The island is regularly rocked by earthquakes.

It was the first quake with a magnitude reaching 6 that had hit the island since 2000, and some experts warned that there may still be powerful ones to come in the near term.

A magnitude 7.6 quake in central Taiwan killed more than 2,300 people in 1999.

Jason Grenier, a Canadian living with his Taiwanese wife and daughter just south of Hualien, said Wednesday that their home is intact and they have power and water.

  • Jon Douglas