The building is reported to be Marshal Hotel in Hualien City, which has nearly 300 rooms.
Photographs show tilting structures, scattered debris and extensive damage to roads in the area. The resulting aftershocks, which continued to be felt in the Hualien County until Wednesday morning, came from a few miles off the coast of Hualien City. “My bed was completely vertical, I was sleeping and suddenly I was standing”. “I was sleeping and suddenly I was standing”, Chen Chih-wei said.
Among the deceased are four Chinese nationals, and a Filipino carer named Melody who was found trapped in a closet in the ill-fated Yun-Men Tsui-di building.
Among the several badly damaged buildings was a hospital, local media reports.
Meanwhile, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), China’s semi-official body that handles cross-strait affairs, Fujian Provincial government and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region government will each donate 1 million yuan to help relief efforts, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Thursday.
Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama sent prayers to the victims of the disaster and encouragement to the rescue crews.
Emergency responders were focusing on a 12-storey apartment block and a nearby hotel, both of which were leaning dangerously with their lower floors pancaked after the 6.4-magnitude quake hit the popular tourist city late Tuesday.
The shifting of the buildings was likely caused by soil liquefaction, when the ground loses its solidity under stress such as the shaking of an quake.
A 30-year-old woman said it is possible to know when storms will end but that is not true of quakes. “Later, my entire family and all my neighbours ran out onto the street”.
“It’s still in the process of tilting, so it would be unsafe to go in there”, Chen said.
Taiwan’s Seismological Observation Centre has recorded about 200 aftershocks since Tuesday’s quake.
The island’s worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.
Japan sent a team of seven search and rescue experts to Taiwan on Thursday to help find survivors of a devastating quake, the government’s top spokesman said.
Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China considers part of its territory, lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is prone to earthquakes. According to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, at least three of the dead were tourists from the mainland.
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