Türkiye rescue workers rally to assist Hualien City earthquake relief

This picture shows mud ashes covering Ching-shui Cliff after an earthquake in Hualien. Picture: AFP

This picture shows mud ashes covering Ching-shui Cliff after an earthquake in Hualien. Picture: AFP

Published Apr 8, 2024


In the wake of the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that shook Taiwan on April 3, rescue teams from Türkiye are collaborating with their Taiwanese counterparts in Hualien County, to locate six individuals still missing and retrieve the bodies of two individuals buried beneath rocks along a hiking trail.

Following the seismic event, six individuals remained unaccounted for, while two bodies were discovered along the Shakadang Trail in Taroko National Park, known for its challenging mountainous landscape, on Friday morning, partially covered by debris, as per official reports.

Among the deceased and the three still missing on Shakadang Trail are members of a family of five. The two fatalities recovered on Friday were identified as the father and eldest daughter.

The remaining missing persons include a couple from Singapore, Australian citizens, and a worker missing in Zhonghe quarry, Hualien County.

The couple from Singapore were last seen on CCTV disembarking from a tourist shuttle bus at Shakadang on the morning of April 3, approximately 40 minutes before the earthquake struck, and are presumed to have embarked on a hike in the vicinity, authorities stated.

On Monday, Jian Hong-Cheng, leader of Hualien County Fire Department's specialized search and rescue team, disclosed that the team had dispatched seven personnel and three search-and-rescue canines to scour five cabins near the 1.5km marker on Shakadang Trail, following indications from the previous day suggesting the Singaporean couple might have visited those cabins.

During a previous briefing, Jian explained that to locate the three missing family members believed to have been near the 0.5-km marker of the trail, the special search and rescue team had carved out a path along a riverbed in the area using heavy machinery and cleared a 200-meter path through the rubble.

At the press event, Chen Yi-Feng, head of a special search and rescue team from the National Fire Agency under the Ministry of the Interior, commended a team of seven Türkiye rescue workers who arrived in Taiwan on Saturday to aid in rescue efforts.

A general view as workers carry out operations while on an elevated platform of a firefighting truck at the site where a building collapsed, following the earthquake in Taiwan. Picture: Reuters

Türkiye expressed its readiness to assist shortly after last week’s earthquake, dispatching a search and rescue team equipped with advanced drones to affected areas.

Apart from conducting general search and rescue operations, earthquake relief teams from Taiwan and Türkiye utilized drones to capture images of Taroko and Provincial Highway 8 linking Hehuanshan and Tianxiang in Taroko to overcome challenges faced during rescue missions in mountainous regions, Chen added.

Additionally, the Presidential Office issued a statement on Sunday expressing gratitude to the Türkiye government for dispatching drone specialists to Taiwan to assist with the earthquake relief efforts.

Cape Times

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