A strong earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale struck Taiwan at during the afternoon of 31 March at 2:52 pm (local time). The epicenter was located near Hualien, 180 kilometers east of Taipei. The tremors were felt across the island. Local media reports indicate 4 deaths and more than 200 people injured. The death toll is expected to rise as many people have been reported missing in several collapsed buildings across the capital. The government mobilized soldiers and firefighters to help in the rescue work. The local media also reported three buildings had collapsed or partially collapsed, and Taipei's subway has been shut down after a water pipe at one station broke. Water and gas pipes were also ruptured around the city. Landslides cut off a freeway in the eastern part of Taiwan, and threatened the structural integrity of several bridges.
In September 1999, more than 2,400 people lost their lives and more than 11,000 were injured in a massive earthquake (measuring 7.6 on the Richter Scale) in Taiwan.
Red Cross/Red Crescent Action
Taiwan Red Cross Organization (TRCO):
The TRCO in Taipei is liaising closely with emergency authorities to coordinate search and rescue work, and is carrying out quick needs assessment activities in the capital city. The TRCO sent 25 staff and volunteers to a heavily damaged four-story building which had collapsed, and provided First Aid to 15 people who had jumped out of the building, and assisted another 8 people from this building site. The TRCO in Taipei tried to contact their office in Hualien, but there is no information available on damage so far. The TRCO has its own Disaster Preparedness centers in Taipei and Hualien, which was completed and equipped with emergency equipment in August 2001 and February 2002 respectively as one of the 1999 Taiwan Earthquake Rehabilitation Programmes.
International Federation and Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies:
The Federation's programme manager (located in Taipei) in charge of the 1999 Taiwan Earthquake Rehabilitation Programme is liaising closely with the TRCO. He is accompanying TRCO staff for quick needs assessment and rescue activities in the affected area, and will continue to assist the TRCO in information gathering, needs assessment, and monitoring activities.
For further details please contact: Satoshi Sugai, Desk Officer, Phone 41 22 7304 273; Fax 41 22 733 0395; email firstname.lastname@example.org
All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.
For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org
For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.
Relationship Management Department
Asia and Pacific Department