Several feared trapped after Taiwan quake

"I offer condolences to Your Excellency and to the families who have lost the loved ones", he added.

More than 100 people were killed in a quake in southern Taiwan in 2016, and in 1999, a quake of magnitude 7.6 killed more than 2,000 people. But he said Taiwan should have accepted Beijing's help. It has promised to remain a "committed partner" of Taiwan, but just exactly what that would entail if it establishes diplomatic relations with Beijing is unclear.

The national fire agency said seven people had been killed across the city, and 260 were injured.

Taiwan's official Central News Agency reported that seven people had been killed.

The tremors were felt all along Taiwan but Hualien was worst hit by the quake.

There are 173 people still unaccounted for.

"Since the aftershocks are frequent, we urge all our compatriots ... to remain vigilant and always pay attention to the correct message from the government", Tsai said in.

Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China considers its own, lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is prone to earthquakes.

The ministry also issued a safety advisory to Japanese traveling to Taiwan to use caution and postpone visits if possible.

Dozens of aftershocks followed the initial quake.

A female Philippine caregiver, identified as Melody Albano Castro, was confirmed dead in the natural disaster that hit Hualien City in eastern Taiwan before midnight on Tuesday, according to reports.

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Workers placed steel beams to stabilize a dangerously tilted building while rescuers on the other side tried to pull survivors to safety Thursday, more than a day after an quake shook Taiwan's east coast, killing at least nine people. Over 140 individuals have not been accounted for.

At the Yunmen Tsuiti building, clothes and other personal items were visible on the balconies as the rescue work continued.

- Rescuers combed through the rubble of collapsed buildings on Wednesday, in a search for 67 people missing after a strong natural disaster which killed at least seven near Taiwan's popular tourist city of Hualien. Three mainland tourists were found in the damaged Yun Men Tusi Ti building.

More than a hundred rescue workers were around the building, including military personnel and volunteers who were distributing food and hot drinks.

Firefighters could be seen climbing ladders hoisted against windows as they sought to reach residents inside apartments.

The force of the tremor buckled roads and disrupted electricity and water supplies to thousands of households, the fire agency said. The highway from Suao to Hualien was temporarily closed.

With aftershocks continuing, shell-shocked residents were being directed Tuesday to shelters, including a newly built baseball stadium where beds and hot food were being provided.

Still, even amid dust and heavy rain and shattered glass, the scale of the devastation was becoming clear as night settled in: At least 10 people have died, more than 260 are injured and almost 60 remain missing, according to and figures from the National Fire Agency.

Fu Kun-Chi, head of Hualien County, said large machinery will clear the site of the collapsed Marshal Hotel and two tilted buildings on Friday morning.

The temblor was felt as far away as the capital, Taipei, about 120 kilometers (74 miles) to the north, according to reports sent to the US Geological Survey. It occurred at a depth of about 9.5 kilometers (6 miles).

Taiwanese media reported that the Beautiful Life Hotel also was tilting.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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