Taiwan quake kills 4, tilts buildings; over 140 missing

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The shifting of the buildings after the magnitude 6.4 quake late Tuesday night was likely caused by soil liquefaction, when the ground beneath a building loses its solidity under stress such as that caused by an natural disaster.

"Thank you to our first responders for their tireless efforts in #Hualien", President Tsai Ing-wen, who visited the disaster scene Wednesday, wrote on Twitter.

Among the several badly damaged buildings was a hospital, local media reports.

Residents are taken shelter in community buildings while the government have adviced people to stay away from their damaged homes. More than 250 people were injured, officials said. While there are 10 missing from Beauty Inn hotel, which is also inside the Yun Men Tsui Ti building. He said the government would provide further updates on the situation later on Wednesday morning.

The finding increased to 8 the death toll as of now of the deadly quake that also caused 262 injuries; 62 people remained unaccounted for, according to the Hualien County Emergency Operations Center.

Taiwan sits at the intersection of the Philippine Sea tectonic plate, which is moving west at about 3 inches a year, and the Eurasian plate, which extends east from mainland China.

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The mountainous east coast of Taiwan is less populated than its flatter western side. More than 100 aftershocks have been recorded since it struck, and authorities warned that earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or higher were possible over the next two weeks.

The quake injured 225 people, two dozen of them critically, in Hualien county, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

The areas worst affected in the quake are located close to the eastern city of Hualien - the Hualien and Yilan districts - although tremors were felt throughout the island and had forced people out of their homes.

All concerned agencies are to salvage public infrastructure, thereby helping residents return to their normal lives, the president said.

But about 67 people remain missing, and rescue efforts last night were centred on an apartment complex and a hotel, where numerous missing are believed to be still trapped in the crushed lower floors. "But then it got really terrifying", the worker, Chen Ming-hui, told Taiwan's official Central News Agency after he was reunited with his son and grandson following the quake.