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Red Cross teams race against time to find survivors of Taiwan earthquake

A massive rescue effort continues after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake collapsed buildings in the south of Taiwan.

Monday February 8, 2016

Rescue team
Taiwan Red Cross rescuers save a little boy who was trapped inside a building that collapsed in the earthquake. Photo: Taiwan Red Cross

A small boy, trapped beneath a cement wall, was one of those rescued by Taiwan Red Cross teams in a desperate effort over the weekend.  

The 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Kaohsiung province on Saturday 6 February, bringing down a number of buildings in Tainan City.

Rescue operations were still underway on Monday 8 February, with more than 26 deaths and 520 injuries confirmed.  

Five rescue teams from Taiwan Red Cross have been working with government and military emergency services to locate survivors. In the most difficult cases, teams had to dig for hours through broken concrete walls and rubble where multi-story buildings have collapsed into deep and impenetrable ruins.  

The little boy found on Sunday was trapped deep inside one of the buildings. He was still conscious but a cement wall had fallen on his hand.  

With broken concrete blocking their way, rescuers were lowered into the destroyed building and managed to reach the narrow space where the boy was trapped. After a five-hour effort, they managed to bring him to safety. He suffered no serious injuries and is now receiving treatment.

Red Cross teams in Tainan City are part of an extensive relief operation coordinated by the government, involving thousands of rescue workers, rescue dogs and helicopters.  "It's a race against time to find and rescue any trapped survivors," said Lisa Hsu of Taiwan Red Cross.  

Red Cross staff and volunteers are also present at 10 hospitals where injured people are receiving care, to provide emotional support to patients and their families. Cash grants are being organised for people who have been injured and for the closest relatives of those killed in the earthquake.  

Source: Hler Gudjonsson, IFRC    

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