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Asia VJDEOs/PhOtOs>Taiwan 6.4 Earthquake-158 People Still Trapped

Flats Destroyed in Taiwain Earthquake Were Reinforced With Cooking Oil Cans: Investigation Launched After Kitchen Ingredient is Seen Inside the Concrete Structures That Collapsed Killing at Least 22 People

  • A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit southern Taiwan just before 4am local time on Saturday, causing chaos
  • A 17-storey residential block which was home to more than 200 residents has collapsed in Tainan City
  • Among the dead are ten-day-old baby girl and two other children, while 158 people remain missing
  • Another 484 people were injured during the disaster, with a total of 230 pulled alive from the rubble
Daily Mail UK, 7 February 2016

Pictures of the apartment complex destroyed in the Taiwan earthquake on Saturday show that its walls appear to have been built using empty cooking oil cans.

Rescuers are racing against time to save more than 125 people stuck beneath the rubble of the block of flats in Tainan, Taiwan after a powerful earthquake struck the southern part of the island on Saturday.

The death toll for the 6.4 magnitude earthquake has now reached 24, with 22 of the victims found in the toppled Tainan building including a ten-day-old girl and two other children.

While Tainan's government says the building had obtained its construction permit legally, images show large rectangular, commercial cans of cooking-oil packed inside wall cavities exposed by the damage, apparently having been used as building material.

Pictures of the flats destroyed in the quake in Tainan, Taiwan, show cans of cooking-oil packed inside wall cavities exposed by the damage, apparently having been used as building material

Tainan's government says the building had obtained its construction permit legally, but an investigation has now been launched

Tremous: Two firemen carry a young child from the residential complex in Tainan, Taiwan, where 22 of the 6.4 magnitude earthquake's victims have been discovered in the past 24 hours

Tragedy: A man cries after his mother is confirmed to be one to the victims of the earthquake which shook Taiwan on Saturday

The mayor of Tainan said 126 residents were still missing, with 103 of them still trapped 'very deep' in the rubble mote than 24 hours after the 4am earthquake yesterday.

'There's no way to get to them direct, it's very difficult,' Tainan mayor William Lai said, adding that emergency workers were having to shore up the ruins to ensure they were secure before digging.

Around 200 people have been rescued so far, including a dazed-looking toddler who was lifted out of a collapsed flat by firemen, and more than 50 others were able to escape unaided.

Rescuers drilled down into the rubble Sunday, urging survivors to stay strong as they tried to reach them. Several residents of the 17-storey flats were pulled out alive after being buried for more than 24 hours.

By Sunday morning, the national disaster response centre reported 158 people - including at least 41 children, according to one broadcaster - still out of contact across the city of Tainan and neighbouring counties following the disaster which struck at 4am on Saturday.

Rescue efforts have been focused on the apartment complex in the city, which had been full of families who had gathered together to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Census records show around 260 people living in the blocks but Mayor Lai said it was now thought that more than 300 had been inside to celebrate the holiday.

Rescue mission: The mayor of Tainan said 126 residents were still missing, with 103 of them still trapped 'very deep' in the rubble underneath the 17-storey complex, more than 24 hours after the 4am earthquake yesterday

Around 200 people have been rescued so far, and more than 50 others were able to escape unaided

While this infant was lucky enough to escape with its life, another ten-day-old baby girl was reported to have been killed along with a 50-year-old man found inside the same apartment

Before their apartment tower collapsed in a Taiwan earthquake at the weekend, a young couple living on the 14th floor had already been given a clue that the building was unsafe. But it came too late.

Chen Yi-ting and her husband bought the apartment in the centre of Tainan city five years ago, having relocated from an outlying district. They had a small hiccup with the mortgage -- the first bank they approached had declined their loan application without stating why -- but they found another lender and moved in with their infant daughter.

Soon after, according to Chen's mother, one of the couple's friends, who had ties to the first bank, told them that it had a policy of refusing loans to residents of the 17-storey Wei-guan Golden Dragon Building, due to its poor construction.

Now, Chen, 35, and her husband, Lin Wu-chong, 38, are in intensive-care in two separate hospitals in the southern city. She has a cracked skull and he has damaged lungs. Their seven-year-old daughter is dead.

'People from outside of the town, people like them, had no idea what was going on before they moved in,' Chen's mother, Kuo Yi-chien, explained as she waited in a hospital corridor outside the intensive-care unit where her daughter is.

'They did not know the building was completed by the second developer after the first one went bust. They only found out after they signed the contract.'

A woman uses her phone as she walks out of an office set up to record numbers of missing persons and successful rescues in Tainan

Relatives of the missing have gathered at the buildings which collapsed after the 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck on Saturday morning

A woman stands in front of a list of the missing and the rescue in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan

There were hundreds of people asleep in the residential complex, which had almost 100 homes, when the quake hit at 4am

A woman prays outside a room set up for families and friends of victims at the site of a collapsed residential building

Rescue workers have admitted the search is now 'a race against time' and is continuing through the night

Chinese lanterns hanging on the eve of Chinese Lunar New Year as rescuers continue to search for survivors

Sixty-one-year-old Kuo said residents of the building had long complained of many problems before the quake, such as tiles falling from walls, malfunctioning lifts and blocked pipes.
The couple paid 3.5 million Taiwan dollars ($105,000) for the apartment.

'We are simple minded people. We did not think it (the initial loan refusal) might have been for some other reason,' Kuo said.

Tainan's government says the building had obtained its construction permit legally and withstood a much more destructive quake in 1999. Centred in central Taiwan, that tremor killed 2,400 people and caused damage across the island.

'In the city government's record, there was nothing wrong with it,' said Wu Chong-rong, chief of Tainan Public Works Bureau.

Hsu Yin-hsuan, an architect hired by Tainan's government to investigate the collapse, said the government had spent money after the 1999 disaster to buttress official buildings so they would be better able to endure future quakes.
But, Hsu added: 'Nothing similar has been done to privately owned buildings.'

The Wei-guan Golden Dragon building secured its construction licence in 1992 and building was completed in 1994, according to government records.

Two main firms that built the tower, Wei-guan Construction and Da Hsin Engineering, have since gone out of business.

Witnesses at the scene of the collapse saw large rectangular, commercial cans of cooking-oil packed inside wall cavities exposed by the damage, apparently having been used as building material.

There are still 20 people trapped in one of the residential blocks, but there are more than 130 people missing across the area

Across Tainan and surrounding counties, more than 400 people were injured, with 100 still in hospital

Fire crews are pictured pulling a stunned infant from the wreckage of a 17-storey apartment building in the city of Tainan, Taiwan, after an earthquake struck this morning killing three and leaving hundreds more trapped

Another youngster wrapped in a pink blanket is carried from the ruins of the 17-storey building which is believed to have been home to 256 people living in 92 apartments

This was a problem found in some of the buildings that collapsed in other parts of Taiwan in the 1999 quake. The destruction at that time revealed that cooking-oil cans had been used as filler inside the walls of some buildings.

Tainan Mayor William Lai said he had asked prosecutors to investigate and that the government had hired three teams of civil engineers to inspect the building's structure.

'When it's completed, we'll punish those who should be held accountable,' he said.

Seventy-year-old retiree Yang Shu-mei, who lived next to the building, said she had witnessed its construction and that she and other neighbours had always doubted the workmanship.

'When it was being built, I looked at it and thought, only people from out of town would buy it. We local people would never dare to,' she said.

Eight hundred troops have been drafted in to help with the search at the flats in Wei-Kuan, using sniffer dogs to try to find signs of life in the mangled wreckage of the building. Emergency workers use cranes, ladders and sniffer dogs to trace and extract survivors.

Some 11 people are now reported to have died in the disaster - including four in the 17-storey apartment block, while another was killed by a falling water tower at another location (pictured, rescue workers carry the body of a victim out of an apartment)

As well as the baby girl and 50-year-old man, another man aged 40 was found dead inside the apartment block, with the body of a 55-year-old woman later discovered among the rubble

Emergency workers in Tainan City remove the body of another victim from the apartment block that collapsed this morning

A man breaks down in tears after the body of his relative is carried from the rubble after an earthquake in Taiwan killed 11 today

Among those injured in the disaster were multiple young children who had been looking forward to the start of the Chinese New Year holidays when the disaster unfolded this morning

The ten-day-old girl and 50-year-old man were reported dead at the scene, while another 55-year-old woman died before reaching hospital (pictured, fire crews take another infant from the rubble)

Multiple infants were pictured being pulled from the apartment today, including this child being passed out of a window by fire crews

Many of the injured were pictured being taken out on stretchers, while dozens more appeared bloodied and dazed from the wreckage

An elderly man with a badly bruised eye winces in pain as rescue workers attempt to lower him out of the rubble of a 17-storey apartment building that collapsed in Tainan this morning

Rescuers scramble through the ruins of the collapsed 17-storey building in the Yongkang District following the earthquake

This aerial shot shows two collapsed buildings lying across the road, with emergency services' vehicles surrounding them

A crane helps lift heavy pieces of concrete during the massive rescue effort currently underway in Taiwan

Rescuers climb up the mangled ruins of the apartment block to reach people trapped on the higher floor

As they worked, groups of people gathered to chant prayers at the site, accompanied by Buddhist monks.

Relative Huang Yu-liang, whose brother, sister-in-law and their two children lived in one of the flats, said: 'I was woken up by the quake and called my brother's mobile - no-one answered and I feared something was wrong.

'I rushed here and saw the collapsed building and I was in shock. Their building is at the bottom (of the wreckage).
'I am praying for miracles.'

Wang Chien-ming came from Yunlin county to the north of Tainan to find his sister and her family.
'My sister, her husband and their child live on the third floor and I haven't heard any news since I arrived here. I will keep waiting for as long as it takes.'

Liang Chuan-shun, deputy fire bureau chief for Tainan, said the search was now 'a race against time' and would continue through the night.
'Some rooms in the building were rented to students who would not register with the census authorities - we're not sure how many others might still be left within,' he said.

The initial quake, which struck just before 4am, was very shallow, at depth of 6.2 miles (10 km), which would have amplified its effects, the United States Geographical Survey said.

An exhausted fireman takes a breather on the pavement outside an apartment block where it is thought up to 30 people could be trapped

Up to 1,200 fire crew and soldiers have been deployed in Tainan in order to help deal with the disaster which saw 378 wounded

The devastating quake took place just as the country was about to start its Chinese New Year holiday

One Tainan resident told MailOnline that the hospitals in the city are full, while water and electricity has largely been cut off

The earthquake was followed least five aftershocks of 3.8-magnitude or more, according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau

Rescue crews are seen in front of the collapsed apartment building which folded in on itself after hitting the ground

A rescue worker standing in a crane cage is lowered into the collapsed apartment building in Tainan City in order to look for survivors

Rescue crews scramble over the side of a collapsed building in Tainan City, southern Taiwan, after it was hit by an earthquake

While several apartment buildings in Tainan were reportedly damaged, rescue efforts are now solely focused on the 17-storey building

It was followed least five aftershocks of 3.8-magnitude or more, according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau. Any earthquake which measures above 6 on the Richter scale is considered strong, with the most severe recorded measuring at 8.9.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, speaking to reporters in the capital before leaving for the Tainan, said authorities were not clear on the extent of the disaster.

'The disaster situation is not very clear yet. We will do our utmost to rescue and secure (survivors),' Ma said.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office, which in is charge of Beijing's relations with the self-ruled island, said China was willing to provide help if needed, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said. Beijing regards Taiwan as a wayward province.

Eight shelters have been set up around the city, with over 100 people taking refuge there.

Officials said several blocks had collapsed or half collapsed in other parts of the city, with some buildings left leaning at alarming angles.

The quake initially cut power to 168,000 households in Tainan. Later, utility Taipower said power had been restored to all but about 900 households.

A 71-year-old neighbour, who gave his name as Chang, revealed he was watching television when the quake struck.
'I was watching TV and after a sudden burst of shaking, I heard a boom,' he said. 'I opened my metal door and saw the building opposite fall down.'

As well as emergency workers, military personnel are also on site helping to rescue hundreds of people who are believed to be trapped

Rescuers work at the quake site in Kaohsiung, which was closer to the epicentre of the earthquake

A plumber, he said he fetched some tools and a ladder and prised some window bars open to rescue a woman crying for help.

'She asked me to go back and rescue her husband, child, but I was afraid of a gas explosion so I didn't go in. At the time there were more people calling for help, but my ladder wasn't long enough so there was no way to save them.'

One weeping resident told how she tried to smash her way out of her home.
'I used a hammer to break the door of my home which was twisted and locked, and managed to climb out,' she told local channel SET TV, weeping as she spoke.

Elsewhere in the city of two million people, several buildings tilted at alarming angles.
Dozens have been rescued or safely evacuated from a market and a seven-floor building that was badly damaged, the Central News Agency reported.

A bank building also careened, but no injuries were reported, it said.

A Tainan resident told MailOnline: 'The water supply has been cut off and the hospitals are full. It's pretty horrendous. Some people are trapped in collapsed buildings.'

Rescue personnel work at a damaged building - possibly an office block - in the hours after quake

The city has set up an emergency response centre to deal with the disaster

Some 221 people were rescued within four hours of the earthquake, 115 needing hospitalisation, and two in critical condition

While several apartment blocks were damaged in the quake, rescue efforts are now solely focused on the 17-storey block in Tainan

'This has also taken place just before Chinese New Year, which starts on Sunday.'
Liu Shih-chung, an official with the Tainan City Government, said the city had set up an emergency response centre as it tried to cope with the disaster.

'I hugged the wall and put my face to the wall,' Pao-feng Wu, a Tainan resident, said after the quake hit.

The centre was located some 22 miles (36 kilometres) south-east of Yujing, and was felt as a lengthy, rolling shake in the capital, Taipei, on the other side of the island.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami was not expected.

Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

A strong 6.3-magnitude quake which hit central Taiwan in June 2013 killed four people and caused widespread landslides.
A 7.6-magnitude quake struck the island in September 1999 and killed around 2,400 people.

'Multiple' buildings - including at least one residential block - are said to have fallen following the quake

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami was not expected

As It Happened! CCTV Shows Carnage Caused by Earthquake;

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