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President-elect Tsai Ing-wen visits quake-struck Tainan

2016/02/08 15:24:24

President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (front row, third right / photo courtesy of Chi Mei Hospital)

Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) visited people injured in Saturday's earthquake in Tainan on Monday and said the ongoing rescue efforts will continue as long as necessary.

"This has been a very somber Lunar New Year," Tsai said before entering Chi Mei Hospital in the southern city on Monday, the first day of the new lunar year.

Tsai, who will be sworn in on May 20, expressed her appreciation to the hospital's medical workers for their efforts after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake centered in Kaohsiung caused serious damage in neighboring Tainan.

The president-elect also said she will encourage people injured in the earthquake to rebuild their lives, while promising that rescue efforts will continue and that relief crews will not give up hope.

Vice President-elect Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said when attending mass in Taipei, meanwhile, that people in Taiwan should unite to pray for earthquake victims in Tainan.

"Everyone should now be called Tainaners," he said.

Chen also thanked President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his administration for the rescue and relief efforts undertaken since Saturday, when Taiwan began the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday.

As of noon Monday, 37 people were confirmed dead because of the earthquake, all in Tainan, where several buildings collapsed, the latest official figures showed.

Over 300 have been rescued from damaged structures in the southern city, but some 100 people are believed to remain trapped in a 16-story apartment building that fell over on its side. More than 500 rescue workers are at the site, searching through the rubble.

(By Chiang Chun-liang, Chen Chih-chung and Kay Liu; click here for the full coverage of the earthquke aftermath.)

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