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President-elect Lai emphasizes rescue work during visit to quake-hit Hualien

04/03/2024 08:33 PM
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CNA photo April 3, 2024
CNA photo April 3, 2024

Taipei, April 3 (CNA) Incoming President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) visited Hualien City on Wednesday afternoon, after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck off the coast of eastern Taiwan earlier in the day, urging rescue teams to "make the most of every minute" to search for those who remain trapped in affected areas.

"We are racing against time," Lai, who assumes office in May, told local media after visiting a partially collapsed building in Hualien, the worst hit area in Taiwan due to its proximity to the epicenter of the quake.

The priority now is to find and rescue those who remain trapped, Lai said, adding that the injured should also receive proper treatment and care as soon as possible.

As of 7 p.m., the latest data compiled by the Central Emergency Operation Center detailed nine fatalities, and more than 900 injuries as a result of the earthquake.

At the same time, 137 people remain trapped, including in quarries and along sections of Provincial Highway No. 8, as well as 50 hotel staff members, it added.

Lai, who is currently vice president, added that the central government is fully committed to assisting Hualien County Government as it works to shelter those displaced by the quake and rebuild.

In addition to inspecting rescue operations at the damaged building, Lai also visited National Hualien Girls' Senior High School and a residential building in Hualien County's Ji-an Township, both of which reported damage after the quake, and the Hualien County Disaster Response Center, according to the Presidential Office.

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) visited the Central Emergency Operation Center in New Taipei City in the morning.

(By Teng Pei-ju and Huang Li-yun)

Enditem/AW

Update

April 4

● 38 still missing as Hualien earthquake death toll rises to 10

● Rail traffic between Yilan, Hualien reopens after quake

● President, VP thank world leaders for thoughts and prayers after deadly quake

● More than 70% of TSMC equipment back online after major quake in Taiwan

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First responders search through a collapsed warehouse in New Taipei Wednesday. CNA photo April 3, 2024
First responders search through a collapsed warehouse in New Taipei Wednesday. CNA photo April 3, 2024
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