In the early hours of Saturday, an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale caused devastation and created havoc throughout Tainan, the Taiwanese capital. Within the first 30 minutes after the quake there was a further five aftershocks measuring up to 3.8 magnitude. Despite the country being well prepared for earthquakes when they are as large as this latest one, the impact is still felt by the people residing in the affected areas.

Hundreds still missing among the rubble

Initial reports have made it clear that several buildings have collapsed or partially collapsed, leaving hundreds of people missing, fighting for survival, and, unfortunately, fatalities have already been confirmed:

  • More than 200 people have been rescued from a collapsed tower block
  • A new born baby and young child are two of the first confirmed dead
  • Over 800 soldiers have joined the rescue effort in the search for survivors
  • There have been power cuts and disruption to travel
  • The extent of the disaster is still unclear

An 'all out' rescue effort

The Taiwanese president has promised an 'all out' rescue effort.

This is said to include hundreds of firefighters and soldiers searching the rubble of the collapsed buildings, of which there have been nine reported, with a further five buildings in precarious positions. Shelters will be established for those that have lost their homes in the earthquake. One of the buildings affected was home to over 250 people, all of whom have seen their residency crumple to the ground.

Shallow quake in the Pacific Ring of Fire

Taiwan rests between two tectonic plates, meaning it's prone to earthquakes and potential tsunamis. In previous years, the same region (known as The Pacific Ring Of Fire) has suffered massive earthquakes, namely a 7.6 magnitude quake in 1999. It has been reported that the quake was shallow, this causes the effects felt on ground level to be exaggerated to those of a deeper set earthquake, although the Pacific Tsunami Centre has confirmed there is no risk of a tsunami.

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