A devastating earthquake hit the east coast of Taiwan on Tuesday February 6 with magnitude of 6.4. The shaking was felt across Taiwan, but in Hualien the force from the earthquake was disastrous, collapsing walls and leaving buildings unstable. At least 9 people are dead and over 230 are injured. Many of the missing people were believed to be in a 12 story building that included a hotel, apartment buildings and a restaurant.
About 200 people have been rescued so far from that building and three others. 400 rescue workers are still scrambling to try to recover missing persons trapped inside of collapsed buildings. Hundreds of people were left homeless after the disaster hit, being forced to stay in shelters and gymnasiums. Their homes had been destroyed or damaged, or they were fearful about the frequent and sometimes strong aftershocks that have regularly disturbed the area since the quake. Many roads have been damaged as a result of the earthquake and make it difficult to get out of the area. A 5.4 aftershock hit near Hualien City shortly after the larger earthquake and there have been several other strong shakes in the area in the last few days. The people of Taiwan are use to getting earthquakes but the aftershocks usually end gradually. The people in Taiwan don’t know what to expect since the shakes are still very strong.
Large amounts of medical supplies, food and water were donated by local groups and individuals from around Taiwan. The community of Hualien is coming together to help people that have lost their homes and give some relief to the city.