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article imageTwo dead as earthquake fells 17-story Taiwan apartment tower

By Karen Graham     Feb 5, 2016 in World
Tainan - A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, local time, near the city of Tainan, toppling a 17-story apartment tower and trapping nearly 100 people inside. At this time, there are two known deaths.
The Straits Times is reporting that emergency crews have rescued 123 people so far. "There are 60 households in that building," said information officer Lee Po Min, a spokesperson with the Tainan City Government Fire Bureau. He estimated there might be as many as 240 people living in the building.
Rescuers used hydraulic lifts and a crane to get to the wreckage, and of the 123 people found, at first, 26 were taken to local hospitals. Of the two victims killed in the building collapse, one was an elderly woman, and the other was an infant girl. Rescue crews are still scouring the collapsed structure for survivors.
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According to the U.S. Geological Survey, says Reuters, the magnitude 6.4 quake was centered 27 miles (43 km) southeast of Tainan and struck at a depth of 23 km (14 miles). The depth was revised from an initial assessment of 10 km. Shallower earthquakes can be more destructive than deeper tremors. Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau reported there were five aftershocks of magnitude 3.8 that shook Tainan about 30 minutes after the initial quake.
Local news sources are saying it appears as if the building collapsed onto its first floor. Taiwan’s Formosa TV reporters said they could hear the cries of people trapped in the rubble of the building. Taiwan's China Post is reporting several buildings had collapsed.
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"Collapsed buildings reported in Tainan, with rescue workers arriving on scene. The city government there has set up a level one emergency response center. Onlookers are urged not to block access to emergency crews moving into the area," the newspaper said, according to the Straits Times.
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