Filipina caregiver found dead in Taiwan's Hualien quake

A police officer stands guard outside a damaged building after an earthquake hit Hualien Taiwan

Four tourists from the mainland had been confirmed dead as of Thursday morning after a magnitude-6.5 quake hit Taiwan's Hualien County.

Taiwan is located on the "Pacific Ring of Fire", an area known for its intense seismic activity, and was hit by a 7.6-magnitude quake in 1999 that killed at least 2,415 people.

Officials say a magnitude 6.4 natural disaster that struck near the coast of Taiwan has killed two hotel employees and injured more than 200 other people.

Emergency workers surrounded a badly damaged 12-storey residential building, a major focus of the rescue effort.

"According to Taiwan immigration service, the body pulled out from the ruins this afternoon was that of our missing Filipino caretaker", the Manila Economic and Cultural Office said.

Taiwan has frequent earthquakes due to its position along the "Ring of Fire", the seismic faults encircling the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes occur.

The National Fire Agency says five people are confirmed trapped as of Wednesday morning.

Tsai said she "ordered search and rescue workers not to give up on any opportunity to save people, while keeping their own safety in mind".

Meanwhile, first responders attempted to free two employees trapped in the lobby of the city's Marshal Hotel.

A Red Cross worker who was at the scene estimated that the building had tilted another 5 per cent overnight, and said that he had little hope of survivors being found on its lowest floors.

Hualien is one of Taiwan's most popular tourist destinations as it lies on the picturesque east coast rail line and near the popular Taroko Gorge.

Local broadcaster SET TV ran an interview with a man who said he was the husband of one of the mainland Chinese victims.

The government said 17 foreigners sought medical treatment for minor injuries.

The 28-year-old woman worked as a caregiver for a Japanese family that consisted of a 63-year-old woman, her 68-year-old husband, and the elderly woman's mute younger brother.

President Tsai Ing-wen reassured the public every effort would be made to rescue survivors.

A magnitude 7.6 quake in central Taiwan killed more than 2,300 people in 1999.

Earthquakes are not uncommon for residents in Hualien but the 6.4-magnitude quake, one of the strongest in recent years, came as a shock.

China says it is prepared to send a rescue team to Taiwan after a strong natural disaster struck near the island's east coast. Its streets were buckled by the quake, with around 40000 homes left without water and around 1900 without power.

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