At least 7 dead after Taiwan's natural disaster

Rescuers brave aftershocks as Taiwan quake toll rises to 10

Hualien is a popular tourist destination and home to around 100,000 people.

One volunteer, Yang Hsi Hua, told reporters that it was the worst quake the city had ever seen.

"We've never had anything like this; we've never had a building topple over. We ran to empty open spaces to avoid it".

He said that there was no risk of a gas explosion in the building but the aftershocks and further slippage remained a persistent danger.

Nervous residents have since endured more than 200 aftershocks, including a 5.7 quake on Wednesday and smaller tremors early today. After the quake, about 40,000 homes were left without water and an estimated 1,900 without power. Water supply had returned to almost 5000 homes by noon, while power was restored to around 1700 households. Five more buildings were badly damaged, including a hospital and the 12-storey Yunmen Tsuiti apartment block, which is now leaning at a more than 40-degree angle.

Images posted online appear to show the first floor of the hotel severely damaged, with parts of the building crumbling onto the sidewalk.

Emergency workers used enormous beams, raised with a crane, to prop up the building - a large residential and commercial complex - which leaned ominously over the street below.

The natural disaster had struck at a depth of around 23 km.

"Even tonight, we're going to sleep in the tent, I think", Grenier said.

"I understand that every effort is being made to rescue the injured and provide relief to those affected by this tragedy", the Dalai Lama wrote in his letter to the President. A rescue worker told TVBS that rescuers were working to save two other employees as family members waited nearby.

With aftershocks continuing through the night, residents were being directed to shelters, including a newly built baseball stadium, where beds and hot food were provided.

Taiwan's National Fire Agency said Wednesday that four people were killed in the quake, while 243 others were injured and 85 unaccounted for. The island sits near a junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

The natural disaster was a magnitude 6.4 quake, which is the upper limit of the Richter Scale used to measure how strong an natural disaster [VIDEO] is.

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.

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