Killer quake may claim
close to 2,500 lives

Prepared for internet by Vietnamese Missionaries in Taiwan

Taipei, Sept. 26, 1999 - In the aftermath of Sept. 21's cataclysmic earthquake, death, darkness, destruction and concern for loved ones were common themes among the nations's shaken citizens.

With more than 2,100 reported killed and 8,000 injured, over 300 victims are still trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings with little hope of survival.

Official feared the death toll could rise as rescue efforts continued. With a premiliminary magnitude of 7.3, it was the strongest quake to hit Taiwan this centery.

The highest fatality counts were reported in the central counties of Nantou and Taichung, close to where the tremor was centered.

The quake hit at 1:47 am with its epicenter 12.5 km from Sun Moon Lake in montainous central Taiwan. It was only one km below the Earth's surface.

Two major aftershocks struck on Sept. 22, and Sept. 26 compounding damage to roads and rail lines. Seismologists warned that strong aftershocks can be expected over the next two weeks.

Scenes of devastation were reported in Nantou and Taichung County, where thousands of buildings collapsed, kiling more than 1,800 and leaving as many as 100,000 homeless.

In Puli township alone, officials reported 98 percent structural damage. Roads buckled under the stress of the quake causing the collapse of two major bridges in the Nantou area.

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