Canadian Couple Among Those Killed In Taiwan Earthquake

TOLL RISES Rescuers pull out a body from a quake-damaged building in the Hualien Taiwan on Friday. AFP

TOLL RISES Rescuers pull out a body from a quake-damaged building in the Hualien Taiwan on Friday. AFP

The missing five tourists, including one child, come from Beijing and are believed to be trapped in the Yun Men Tusi Ti building. A family of five Chinese mainland nationals and a Canadian-Chinese couple remain missing.

Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with the people of Taiwan after two high-magnitude earthquakes devastated the island nation, killing at least nine people and injuring hundreds more.

According to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC), the magnitude 6.5 earthquake jolted waters near Hualien at 11:50 p.m. Tuesday.

"Our thoughts are with the people of Hualien, and their friends and family, including those of the two Canadians who lost their lives", the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei said in a statement.

Fu Kun-Chi, head of Hualien County, said at a news briefing that the rescue work faces great difficulties with very limited space for rescuers to enter.

Rescuers on Friday continued searching for seven people believed to be buried under rubble of a building that partially collapsed during a powerful quake that rocked eastern Taiwan on Tuesday.

Rescuers worked their way around and through the building while residents looked on from behind cordoned-off roads.

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In response to the tragedy, a high-ranking Japanese official announced that his country would dispatch a rescue team to aid in the search efforts for the remaining missing persons.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen visited those sheltering in schools and other sites as a safeguard against repeated aftershocks.

The Taiwanese government said it was taking fresh steps to push forward a revision to its building act that it hoped would help limit damage in the future, according to Reuters.

The highway from Suao to Hualien was temporarily closed.

"We're putting a priority on Hualien people being able to return home to check on their loved ones", Hsu said.

Hualien policeman Cheng Po-jen was on duty Tuesday night when a magnitude 6.0 natural disaster struck the eastern Taiwan city, causing four buildings to partially collapse including the one in which Cheng lived.

Taiwan has frequent earthquakes, a lot of them minor, but a 1999 quake killed more than 2,300 people and was Taiwan's worst recent natural disaster.

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