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Taiwan Holds Memorial for Earthquake Victims as Death Toll Rises

  • VOA News

Relatives, religious leaders and government officials attend a memorial for the victims of the collapsed building complex caused by an earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016.

Relatives, religious leaders and government officials attend a memorial for the victims of the collapsed building complex caused by an earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016.

Relatives and friends of the victims of Taiwan's earthquake last Saturday attended a memorial ceremony Friday, as the official death toll rose to at least 93.

President Ma Ying-jeou and President-elect Tsai Ing-wen both attended Friday's event in the city of Tainan, offering flowers and visiting with relatives and Buddhist monks, but making no official remarks.

Mourners bowed and lit incense before portraits of the victims arranged in rows. The ceremony takes place on the seventh day after the disaster, a special day of mourning according to Chinese tradition.

Taiwan's Interior Ministry announced the updated death toll Friday, as rescue workers continued to sift through the ruins of the Weiguan Golden Dragon apartment complex. Dozens of people are still missing.

It was the only major building to collapse during the 6.4 magnitude quake, although dozens of buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged.

The developer of the building, Lin Ming-hui, remains in custody and has been charged with professional negligence resulting in death. Two other former executives have also been charged.

Questions about the methods and materials used in constructing the building have emerged in the wake of the tragedy, fueled by photos from the wreckage showing tin cans and foam built into the walls of the complex.

The quake struck two days before the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar.

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