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New Delhi: Two Indian nationals were reported missing following the devastating earthquake that struck Taiwan early on Wednesday. The missing persons, a man and a woman, were last seen in Taroko Gorge, located close to the earthquake’s epicentre.

The earthquake, described as the strongest to hit Taiwan in a quarter-century, occurred during the morning hour, claiming the lives of nine people and leaving over 1,000 injured. The impact of the quake was severe in rural, mountainous Hualien County, where numerous buildings suffered structural damage, some leaning at precarious angles with their ground floors crushed, news agency AP reported.

Around 70 workers stranded at two rock quarries were safe, Taiwan’s national fire agency said. However, roads to reach them were damaged by falling rocks, AP reported. 

Approximately 150 km away in the capital city of Taipei, the effects of the earthquake were also felt, with tiles falling from older buildings and schools evacuating students to open spaces as aftershocks continued to rattle the island nation.

In response to the disaster, rescue teams mobilised in Hualien, deploying excavators to stabilise damaged structures and combing through debris in search of people who may be trapped or stranded. The number of people reported missing, trapped, or stranded fluctuated as authorities received new information and stepped up efforts to locate and assist those in need.

Meanwhile, the India Taipei Association has taken steps to support Indian nationals in Taiwan. A helpline has been set up, allowing people to seek assistance by calling 0905247906 or sending an email to ad.ita@mea.gov.in.

“In view of the earthquake striking off the coast of eastern Taiwan during the early hours of Wednesday, 03 April 2024, the following emergency helpline has been setup by India Taipei Association for assistance, guidance, or clarification to all Indian nationals living in Taiwan:   Mobile: 0905247906 Email: ad.ita@mea.gov.in   All Indian nationals are further requested to follow advisories issued by the local authorities. ITA also requests Indian nationals in Taiwan to share this advisory through their local networks for wider circulation,” a statement by the India Taipei Association said.

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