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Hotel workers still missing after Taiwan earthquake

The number of people injured in a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in eastern Taiwan climbed past 1,000 though the death toll remained steady at nine, with 42 workers on their way to a hotel in a national park still missing.

The temblor, the strongest in 25 years, hit yesterday morning just as people were readying to go to work and school, focused on the largely rural and sparsely populated eastern county of Hualien.

Buildings also shook violently in the capital Taipei, but damage and disruption there was minimal.

Taiwan’s fire department said the number of injuries had reached 1,038, and put the total number of missing at 48, including 42 hotel workers.

Search and rescue teams prepare to enter a damaged building in the Hualien area of Taiwan

Late yesterday, the disaster management command centre said the search for the hotel workers on their way to Taroko Gorge, national park, was a major focus for them.

Authorities planned to send in drones and helicopters to look for them and drop supplies if they are located.

In Hualien city, where rescue work for people who had been trapped in buildings was now completed, some people slept outdoors overnight as dozens of aftershocks rocked the region.

A lady who gave her family name as Yu, 52, said she checked herself into a tent on a sports ground at a temporary shelter late on Wednesday night because she was too scared to sleep in her apartment, which she described as “a mess’ ‘.

“The aftershocks were terrifying. It’s non stop. I do not dare to sleep in the house,” she said.

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