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Sat. May 25th, 2024

In the aftermath of Taiwan’s most powerful earthquake in 25 years, rescue teams successfully freed nine individuals who were trapped within a labyrinthine cave situated in the mountainous eastern region of the island.

This feat of rescue comes amid ongoing efforts to locate and aid those affected by the seismic event, with two additional individuals feared dead but yet to be formally accounted for, according to government authorities in the severely impacted area of Hualien county.

The official death toll from the magnitude-7.4 earthquake that struck on Wednesday remains at 10, with the discovery of two more casualties reported in a remote hiking area. These individuals were tragically crushed beneath a landslide, buried deep under substantial boulders, posing significant challenges for recovery efforts.

Interior Minister Lin Yu-chang confirmed the discovery of the bodies, emphasizing that they will be officially included in the casualty count following proper excavation and identification procedures. Despite the formidable obstacles presented by landslides and rockfalls, hundreds of individuals stranded in the mountainous terrain have been reached and provided assistance by rescue teams employing helicopters, drones, and specialized canine units.

Efforts to restore access to the affected areas have made notable progress, with approximately 10 kilometers of roads repaired in a remarkably short span of time. However, ongoing aftershocks and persistent geological instability continue to pose hazards to both rescue operations and infrastructure rehabilitation endeavors.

In the urban center of Hualien, authorities have permitted limited access for residents to retrieve belongings from structurally compromised buildings, implementing strict safety protocols due to heightened risks of collapse. Despite facing uncertain conditions, individuals like 24-year-old Chen, prioritized the safety of loved ones, reflecting on the gravity of the situation.

The resilience and determination of both rescue workers and affected communities are evident as they confront the aftermath of this devastating earthquake. As recovery efforts persist and communities strive to rebuild, the collective resolve to overcome adversity remains unwavering, exemplifying the strength and unity of Taiwan in the face of adversity.

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