Rescuers were searching late Saturday for more than 100 people still missing after a powerful, shallow earthquake struck southern Taiwan before dawn, causing a high-rise residential building to collapse, killing at least 14 people and injuring hundreds. Nearly 340 people were rescued from the rubble in Tainan, the city hit worst by the quake. About 2,000 firefighters and soldiers scrambled with ladders, cranes, and other equipment to the ruins of a 17-floor residential building that folded like an accordion onto its side, the AP reports. Local media said the building included a care center for newborns and mothers, and a newborn was among the dead in the disaster. Rescuers pulled out 248 survivors from the collapsed building.
The quake came two days before the start of Lunar New Year celebrations that mark the most important family holiday in the Chinese calendar. The building had 256 registered residents, but far more people could have been inside when it fell because the population might have swelled ahead of the holiday, when families typically host guests. Taiwan's emergency management information center said 475 people were injured, with 368 of them discharged from hospitals by Saturday evening. Most people were caught asleep when the magnitude-6.4 earthquake occurred at about 4am. It struck only 6 miles underground, according to the US Geological Survey.