Taiwan continues the rescue of those trapped in tunnels and counts those missing

The Taiwanese sigh on their Day of the Dead.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
03 April 2024 Wednesday 16:26
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Taiwan continues the rescue of those trapped in tunnels and counts those missing

The Taiwanese sigh on their Day of the Dead. And they also pinch themselves. The most powerful earthquake in twenty-five years, which yesterday shook the entire island, leaves a death toll more typical of a traffic accident.

The ten confirmed deaths - just one more than last night - and 1,067 injuries - most of them minor - contrast so strikingly with the 2,400 deaths in 1999, that it is inevitable to deduce that .

In any case, 698 people remain incommunicado or trapped in places still inaccessible due to rockfalls, which have cut off many mountain roads. To the greater surprise of seismologists, the majority of victims have, in fact, been recorded in natural settings, while the buildings resisted - only 28 have given way, despite the spectacular nature of some images - and the citizens continued with civility and without falling into panic the instructions of the effective presidential telephone alert system.

Many lessons from 1999 have been clearly learned by subsequent governments, of different stripes. According to the latest data from the Emergency Response Center, the earthquake has caused a total of 2,523 incidents of varying magnitude across the island, most of them in the eastern county of Hualien, the 'ground zero' of the earthquake.

This Thursday, emergency teams found the tenth fatality, a 65-year-old man buried by rocks on a trail in Taroko National Park, where the majority of people trapped by the earthquake are located.

Several rescuers have had to walk to the park due to the poor condition of the roads and paths, and they are expected to find stranded passers-by in the coming hours.

In total, 961 people have been evacuated throughout the island and 619 had to be relocated to 31 accommodations.

The earthquake, whose magnitude was 7.2, occurred at 7:58 a.m. on Wednesday, 25 kilometers off the coast of Hualien. The one in 1999 had a magnitude of 7.6, while the one in 2018, which also hit Hualien squarely, caused 17 deaths, despite a magnitude below 6.4 degrees.

Taiwan sits at the confluence of the Philippine and Eurasian plates, so earthquakes are frequent on the island.

The tectonic clash has not served, in any case, to make peace with mainland China, fiefdom of the Chinese Communist Party, in contrast to the Chinese nationalists of Chiang Kai-shek, who took refuge on the island of Formosa after losing the civil war.

The sovereigntist government of Taipei, emboldened by Washington, has rejected - as on previous occasions - Beijing's offer of help. However, today the