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Taiwan appreciates China's concern over earthquake

2013/03/27 21:00:55

Taipei, March 27 (CNA) The Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) has expressed concern about possible damage caused by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that jolted central Taiwan Wednesday, according to its Taiwanese counterpart organization.

The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) said ARATS also called for continued contact if there are any new developments in the post-earthquake situation.

In addition to informing ARATS that the quake did not cause major damage, the SEF said, it also expressed gratitude for its Chinese counterpart's voicing of concern over the situation.

The SEF and ARATS are quasi-official intermediary bodies authorized by their respective governments to handle bilateral exchanges in the absence of official ties.

Meanwhile, Eastday.com, a Shanghai-based news website, reported that some residents in Shanghai even felt the tremor that struck 38.8 km east of the Nantou county government building in central Taiwan at 10:03 a.m.

Seismologists at the Shanghai Seismology Bureau said that as Nantou is 740-plus km away from Shanghai, an earthquake in the region would not be expected to cause any damage to the city.

They further said that medium or strong earthquakes in Taiwan can usually shake highrise buildings in Shanghai to some extent.

Shanghai travel officials said all of the 2,000-plus Shanghai residents who are currently traveling in Taiwan in 94 tour groups are safe and have not been affected by the earthquake.

The temblor has left one elderly woman in Nantou County dead and 19 others injured, according the National Fire Agency.

The injured all resided in Nantou and in neighboring Taichung City and Changhua County, the agency said, adding that some students and teachers at elementary and junior high schools in Taichung were hit and injured by books falling from library shelves, according to local government officials.

There were no reports of collapsed apartments or office complexes anywhere in Taiwan, but local TV news stations broadcast images of structural cracks in several buildings, scattered and broken merchandise in stores in central Taiwan, and panicked students and residents there making mad dashes for safety when the quake hit.

The fire agency said it formed an emergency response task force immediately after the earthquake struck.

The National Airborne Service Corps also dispatched helicopters to inspect for possible damage caused by the quake, the agency said.

An Executive Yuan aerial intelligence task force was also activated to take pictures of affected areas, Cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun said.

As soon as he learned of the temblor, Premier Jiang Yi-huah directed relevant government agencies to set up emergency response task forces and adopt effective response measures, Cheng added.

(By Hsieh Jian-chen, Cheng Chung-sheng and Sofia Wu)
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