Search for Taiwan quake victims ends as toll rises to 17

A rescue worker walks past a crane as the Yun Tsui building (back) leans to one side after an overnight earthquake in the Taiwanese city of Hualien on Feb. 7, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 11 February 2018
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Search for Taiwan quake victims ends as toll rises to 17

TAIPEI: Rescuers Sunday ended their search of a Taiwan building partially toppled by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake as the last trapped pair were presumed dead, bringing the final death toll to 17.
Thousands of emergency workers had combed through rubble at the foot of the 12-story Yun Tsui apartment block since the quake struck the eastern city of Hualien late Tuesday.
It was left leaning at around a 50-degree angle by the quake, complicating rescue efforts due to fears of an imminent collapse.
Hualien mayor Fu Kun-chi said the last two victims were pinned under heavy pillars that could not be removed without risking a total collapse of the building, and the rescue was called off with the consent of their relatives.
Excavators began digging through the building from the top later Sunday to try to recover the bodies, he added
“Seventeen people were unfortunately killed in the earthquake... I believe their relatives will receive proper assistance,” Premier William Lai said while paying his respects to victims in Hualien Sunday.
The last pair are believed to be members of a family from Beijing who arrived in Taiwan on Monday, authorities said. The bodies of three other members of the family including a boy aged 12 were recovered Saturday.
They were staying in a second-floor room at a hotel in the Yun Tsui building when the quake struck.
Fourteen of the 17 people who were killed perished in the building.
Three partially collapsed buildings in Hualien are being demolished, including the local landmark Marshal Hotel where one employee was killed.
Hualien, on Taiwan’s picturesque east coast, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the quake-probe island.
Taiwan’s worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.
That quake ushered in stricter building codes but many of Taiwan’s older buildings remain perilously vulnerable to even moderate tremors.


Pakistan PM Khan speaks with India’s Modi to congratulate him on election win

Updated 26 May 2019
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Pakistan PM Khan speaks with India’s Modi to congratulate him on election win

  • Modi shocked many with his decisive victory in this election
  • Tensions have flared between the two countries earlier this year

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday spoke to Narendra Modi and congratulated the Indian leader on the runaway election victory of his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), both countries said on Sunday.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and congratulated him on his party’s electoral victory in the Lok Sabha elections in India,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The Prime Minister expressed his desire for both countries to work together for the betterment of their peoples.”
Tensions between India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed countries, flared in February with cross-border air strikes and a brief battle between fighter jets above Kashmir.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs confirmed Khan had called Modi on Sunday, adding the two leaders had discussed fighting poverty together.
“He (Modi) stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” the ministry added in a statement.