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Series of powerful aftershocks hit Taiwan’s Hualien

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Aftershocks continue to rattle Taiwan after a strong earthquake that killed at least four people and injured more than 220 others.

The powerful 6.4-magnitude tremor struck at 23:50 (15:50 GMT) about 20km (12 miles) off the island’s east coast.

Residents in the city of Hualien have been told to stay away from their damaged homes, and about 800 have taken shelter in community buildings.

Hualien, a popular tourist hub, is home to about 100,000 people.

Images from the city showed tilted structures, scattered debris and extensive damage to roads in the area. Among the several badly damaged buildings was a hospital, local media said.

“We were still open when [the earthquake]happened,” Lin Ching-wen, who operates a restaurant near the hospital told newswire Reuters.

“I grabbed my wife and children and we ran out and tried to rescue people.”

Emergency responders, including soldiers, worked through the night, rescuing about 150 people from damaged buildings, but powerful aftershocks have disrupted rescue efforts.

Rescuers on Wednesday morning were still working to reach at least five other people who are known to be trapped in buildings, reported news agency AP.

More than 140 people are still unaccounted for according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.-BBC

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