Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Sunday conveyed condolences to the victims in the strong earthquake that struck southern Taiwan on early Saturday.
The 6.7-magnitude quake hit Kaohsiung at 3:57 am Beijing Time on Saturday at a depth of 15 kilometers, killing at least 37.
“We’re deeply concerned about the disaster situation.
We express deepest sympathies to Taiwan compatriots affected by the quake and convey condolences to victims,” Xi said in a statement.
“Compatriots across the Taiwan Strait are one family whose blood is thicker than water, and we would like to provide assistance in all aspects,” Xi added.
Many mainland netizens posted messages expressing sympathy for Taiwan compatriots who are affected by the quake.
“Let’s pray for our Taiwan compatriots,” wrote netizen “Zuo’an Houniao.”
Death toll at 35
The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck southern Taiwan had climbed to 37 by Monday morning.
The collapse of the Wei Guan building, the most seriously damaged, has killed 35.
- An infant is rescued from a collapsed building in Tainan, Taiwan, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. [Photo/IC]
At about 1:50 pm, rescuers pulled from the Wei Guan building a man in his 20s, who later died.
A six-month-old girl was rescued but died. Her father was also among the deceased.
More survivors were pulled from the collapsed apartment tower on Sunday.
Those found alive include a 20-year-old identified by Taiwan media as Huang Kuang-wei and another man in his 20s surnamed Kuo, who was able to walk out of the wreckage, supported by rescuers. Both were sent to hospital.
More than 110 people trapped
The rescuers are racing against time to save over 110 people who are still trapped in the rubble of the building.
Some of the island’s high-speed rail lines have suspended operations.
- Rescue workers carry a man from the site of a toppled building in Tainan after an earthquake measuring 6.7 magnitude jolted Taiwan at 3:57 am on Feb 6, 2016 [Photo/IC]
More than 600 rescuers, including fire fighters and volunteers, as well as 105 fire engines and 44 ambulances have been involved in the rescue.
They combed through the ruins, some using their hands, watched anxiously by dozens of the victims’ family members who wore thick jackets, woollen hats and scarves to combat the winter chill.
Medical staff with empty gurneys waited nearby.
“She’s not answering my phone calls … I am trying to hold my emotions and stay strong. I’ll do that until I find her,” said a woman surnamed Chang, 42, waiting to hear from her 24-year-old daughter who lived on the fifth floor of the complex.
Previous reports said more than 460 people were injured.
In the historic city of Tainan, eight buildings collapsed and another five were damaged.
- A woman is led by a rescue worker from the site of a toppled building after an earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Feb. 6, 2016. [Photo/IC]