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Operation Blessing Deploys to Taiwan to Help in Rescue Efforts

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Rescue workers in Taiwan continue to pull people from the rubble after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the island— causing landslides and shaking buildings off their foundations.

The quake damaged 48 buildings in Hualien Wednesday, including a five-story building that was left leaning at a 45-degree angle when its first floor collapsed.  

As CBN News reported, the initial quake and aftershocks triggered more than 20 landslides, causing devastation along 35 roads, bridges, and tunnels.

Liu Zhong-da, a 58-year-old construction worker, and his colleague were on their way to work and were inside a tunnel when the quake hit. 

A boulder blocked their exit and they were trapped along with some other people.

"We almost got covered up," Liu said. "No communication could be made (to the outside world)." Liu and his colleague were rescued Thursday afternoon and received a quick medical checkup.

Rescue workers freed 24 people from the wreckage, some of them now taking temporary shelter in tents, including Hendri Sutrisno, a 30-year-old professor at Hualien Dong Hwa University.

He and his wife are staying put in their tents for now saying they fear aftershocks. 

"We ran out of the apartment and waited for four to five hours before we went up again to grab some important stuff such as our wallet. And then we're staying here ever since to assess the situation," he said.

Others, like Sutrisno, refused to go home because the walls of their apartments were cracked or they lived on higher floors. 

Nearly 1,070 people were injured in the quake. About 100 others are missing or trapped in other areas and at least 10 people died in the tragedy.

More than 600 people are stranded in a hotel while workers repair damaged roads.

Operation Blessing In Taiwan

Meanwhile, Operation Blessing is deploying its International Disaster Relief team to help in the rescue efforts.

"State media is reporting that multiple power generation plants were temporarily tripped by the earthquake, with roughly 87,000 households still without power," explained John Tan, regional director for CBN Asia. 

"We expect the immediate needs to be food, water, and hygiene kits," he continued. "Once the electricity is restored, then we can focus on helping residents whose homes were damaged to recover items, clear debris, and begin to rebuild what's been lost."

Earthquakes are a common occurrence in Taiwan but Wednesday's natural disaster was the strongest the country has seen in the last 25 years. 

Hualien was last struck by a deadly quake in 2018 which killed 17 people and brought down a historic hotel. Taiwan's worst recent earthquake struck on Sept. 21, 1999, a magnitude 7.7 temblor that caused 2,400 deaths, injured around 100,000, and destroyed thousands of buildings. 

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CBN News is a national/international, nonprofit news organization that provides programming 24 hours a day by cable, satellite and the Internet. Staffed by a group of acclaimed news professionals, CBN News delivers stories to over a million viewers each day without a specific agenda. With its headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va., CBN News has bureaus in Washington D.C., Jerusalem, and elsewhere around the world. What began as a segment on CBN's flagship program, The 700 Club, in the early 1980s, CBN News has since expanded into a multimedia news organization that offers today's news headlines