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Two bodies retrieved, three more found on Shakadang Trail one week post-quake

04/10/2024 09:28 PM
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Photo courtesy of Hualien County Fire Department April 10, 2024
Photo courtesy of Hualien County Fire Department April 10, 2024

Taipei, April 10 (CNA) The bodies of two individuals were recovered and three additional bodies were discovered on the Shakadang Trail in Taroko National Park, one week after the devastating earthquake in Hualien County, according to search and rescue personnel.

The rescuers reported that they retrieved the bodies of a man and a girl, suspected to be the father and daughter from the Yu (游) family, 0.5 kilometers from the entrance of the trail earlier on Wednesday.

The rescue team added that despite the discovery of the two bodies on April 5, they had been unable to retrieve them until Wednesday due to the heavy equipment needed to lift the rocks.

Meanwhile, the team said it discovered two more bodies around 3 p.m. at a depth of 3-5 meters, also located 0.5 kilometers from the trail entrance. It added that the two people had been hugging each other when they were killed.

Rescuers said another body had been discovered nearby around 5 p.m.

The rescue team added that the two bodies retrieved and the three bodies discovered on Wednesday were all believed to be members of the Yu family.

Rescuers said the bodies would be sent to the Hualien funeral parlor.

Currently, a Singaporean couple are still missing in the area. Search and rescue personnel confirmed they were last seen near a large water pipe about 1.8 kilometers from the trail entrance.

On Wednesday afternoon, six rescue workers and three dogs were dispatched to search the area, but no trace of the pair was discovered.

As of Wednesday 6 p.m., the earthquake has resulted in 16 deaths and left three people missing (two on the Shakadang Trail and one in the Chonghe mining area), as well as 1,155 individuals with injuries, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC).

The Ministry of Agriculture said as of Tuesday there had been 779 landslides covering a total area of 433.93 hectares since the quake struck.

However, there has been no significant movement in the large-scale landslide-prone areas beingsurveilled since the quake, the ministry said, adding that monitoring will continue.

In addition, the total amount of damage to agricultural products, private and public facilities, and other losses stands at NT$80.8 million (US$2.53 million) as of Tuesday, with Hualien County suffering the vast majority -- NT$79.15 million (97.96 percent of the total).

Assistance to compensate those who have experienced agricultural losses is being processed per regulations, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications reported that there are still three construction control sites -- two on Provincial Highway No. 8 and one on Provincial Highway No. 9.

Regarding water and electricity, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said there are still 43 households without power nationwide, mainly due to issues with tunnel lighting equipment. It added that the issue should be resolved after the rocks are cleared.

In addition, the ministry said 57 households in Taipei are without gas supply, and that restoration will be carried out gradually after the schedule to do so has been confirmed with users.

There are also 29 malfunctioning cell phone base stations, the ministry said, adding that they are set to be repaired by Thursday.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) visited the the Central Emergency Operation Center on Wednesday and thanked search and rescue personnel for their efforts on the frontline, which she said demonstrated Taiwan's unity and strength.

Rapid efforts have been made to restore water, telecommunications, and roads, Tsai said, adding that low-orbit satellites have been used for the first time in a disaster area in Taiwan to facilitate communication, enhancing the effectiveness of the disaster relief efforts.

She noted that the Ministry of Health and Welfare has provided over NT$490 million to assist in the recovery and reconstruction of the disaster area.

Currently, plans for employment revitalization measures are being developed, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs has proposed loans totaling NT$20 billion to support certain industries, Tsai added.

Also on Wednesday, the Taiwan Foundation for Disaster Relief announced that as of 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, the amount raised reached nearly NT$500 million.

The fund will be used for disaster relief, emergency medical assistance, shelter and resettlement, and recovery and reconstruction efforts related to the disaster, it said.

(By Chang Chi, Huang Li-yun, Lai Yu-chen and Evelyn Yang)


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