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41 still missing inside Taroko National Park following quake

04/04/2024 05:27 PM
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Visitors and hotel employees trapped in the Tunnel of Nine Turns are pictured by a search and rescue drone on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Central Emergency Operation Center April 4, 2024
Visitors and hotel employees trapped in the Tunnel of Nine Turns are pictured by a search and rescue drone on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Central Emergency Operation Center April 4, 2024

Taipei, April 4 (CNA) A total of 41 people inside Taroko National Park remain unaccounted for more than 29 hours since a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck eastern Taiwan Wednesday morning.

As of 1:10 p.m. Thursday, rescuers are still searching for three buses carrying 30 Silks Place Taroko Hotel employees as well as six hikers, three people at Taroko Village Hotel and two construction workers, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center.

Meanwhile, a group of 24 tourists and five Silks Place Taroko Hotel employees are currently sheltered inside a rock shed near the Tunnel of Nine Turns, the center said.

The center added that work is ongoing to clear debris from Provincial Highway No. 8, the only road in or out of the majority of Taroko National Park.

In addition to those missing, damage to the road has left 615 stranded at Silks Place Taroko Hotel and the neighboring Tienhsiang Youth Activity Center, the center said.

Search and rescue workers move into the badly damaged Provincial Highway No. 8.

Rescuers are also trying to locate one person believed to be in Hualien County's Hejen Mining Area, which sits just outside the national park's boundaries, the center added.

Another 64 individuals stuck in the nearby Heping Mining Area have returned to low-lying ground as of 12:30 p.m., according to the center.

Earlier on Thursday, the Ministry of Education said that six National Dong Hwa University students had been found, and were currently sheltering in a bed and breakfast near Hualien County's Xiulin Township.

Miner Wang Ming-tsung sits in front of a barricade built with sandbags to protect hims and his colleagues from falling rocks in Hejen Mining Area in Hualien County Thursday. Photo courtesy of Wang April 4, 2024
Miner Wang Ming-tsung sits in front of a barricade built with sandbags to protect hims and his colleagues from falling rocks in Hejen Mining Area in Hualien County Thursday. Photo courtesy of Wang April 4, 2024

Meanwhile, the center said a total of 2,498 cases of damage have been reported since Wednesday morning, with 1,140 of them coming from Taipei.

The capital's number was followed by 497 in New Taipei and 366 in Hualien County.

Of the 372,947 households left without power in Hualien County by the quake, all but 337 have had it restored as of 10:10 a.m., the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Thursday morning.

According to the MOEA, 49,560 households still have no access to water, including 9914 in Hualien County, while the water pressure has been lowered for 39,646 households in Yilan County.

The ministry said that services are expected to return to normal before Friday.

Hualien residents on Thursday rest in a shelter set up a day early by the Hualien City Office. CNA photo April, 4, 2024
Hualien residents on Thursday rest in a shelter set up a day early by the Hualien City Office. CNA photo April, 4, 2024

In addition, 394 households have undergone natural gas outages, of which only 63 have resumed services, the MOEA said.

Out of a total of 80 cell towers damaged by the quake, 30 have been repaired with the rest expected to be back online by Friday, according to the National Communications Commission.

(By Huang Li-yun and Chao Yen-hsiang)

Enditem/ASG

Update

April 4

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

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A road in Xiulin Township, Hualien County remains block by landslides on Thursday. CNA photo April 4, 2024
A road in Xiulin Township, Hualien County remains block by landslides on Thursday. CNA photo April 4, 2024
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