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At Least 6 Dead, 88 Missing in Taiwan Earthquake


Rescuers are seen entering a building that collapsed onto its side from an early morning 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan, Feb. 7 2018. Rescue workers are searching for any survivors trapped inside the building.

At least six people are now confirmed dead from Tuesday's strong earthquake in Taiwan, which left at least two buildings partially collapsed and tilting at dangerous angles.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.4 magnitude quake struck just before midnight local time near the coastal city of Hualien, a popular tourist destination of 100,000 residents on Taiwan's eastern coast. The quake split roads in half and caused them to buckle, left about 40,000 homes without water, and nearly 2,000 others without power.

At least two of the fatalities were found in the wreckage of the Marshal Hotel, which was tilting on its side after its ground floor had caved in. Rescue crews are also searching for survivors in the wreckage of a 12-story apartment complex that was also left partially collapsed and leaning over dangerously. Several mobile cranes were deployed to the site to help prop up the structure.

A fireman works at a collapses building after earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan, Feb. 7, 2018.
A fireman works at a collapses building after earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan, Feb. 7, 2018.

More than 200 people have been injured in the quake, and at least 88 others are missing. President Tsai Ing-wen is in Hualien to oversee the search and rescue efforts.

In Washington, a State Department official offered "condolences to the families of those who lost their lives or were injured."

“Our thoughts are with the people of Taiwan and all those affected by the February 6 magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Hualien," the official said. "The American Institute in Taiwan is following events closely and has been in touch with Taiwan Authorities to offer assistance, if it is needed. "

Taiwan sits near a junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

Tuesday's earthquake happened on the second anniversary of a 6.4-magnitude tremor that killed 117 people. More than 2,000 people were killed by 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck central Taiwan in 1999.