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Dozens Of Children Still Missing After Taiwan Earthquake

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Photo: Wally Santana / AP.
After a deadly earthquake hit Taiwan this morning, 14 people are dead and more than 100 are still missing, according to the Associated Press.

The 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit southern Taiwan before dawn on Saturday, causing many buildings — including a 17-story residential high-rise — to collapse. More than 300 people have since been rescued from the rubble in Tainan, the worst-hit area; but between one and two hundred are still unaccounted for, including dozens of children. More than 400 are listed as injured.

The worst site is the 17-story Weiguan Jinlong building. The high-rise apartment building had 256 registered residents, but the actual number of people inside could have been much higher, as friends and relatives visited residents for the upcoming Lunar New Year.

Elise Hu, an NPR correspondent on the ground, told CNN that the holiday is an enormous local celebration, when many families gather together. "If you can imagine something like this happening during Thanksgiving holiday weekend or Christmas travel, that's the equivalent of what's happening here in Taiwan right now," she said. The collapsed building was described as an “accordion.”
The majority of the city, however, was unharmed, leading to speculation about the Weiguan Jinlong building’s construction. A local official told The New York Times that the collapse would be investigated. “There must be something wrong, particularly about the structure of that building,” said Liu Shih-chung, the city’s deputy secretary general.
Steel bars were exposed where the building had been ripped free of its foundation. The newspaper described extensive rescue efforts at the site, with children and animals being passed hand-to-hand by rescuers in a human chain.
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