Taiwan ready to assist Japan with post-quake relief work

2018/09/06 21:07:21 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Photo courtesy of Kyodo News

Photo courtesy of Kyodo News

Taipei, Sept. 6 (CNA) Taiwan is ready to assist Japan with search and rescue efforts after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocked Hokkaido causing landslides that engulfed houses early Thursday, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI).

Photo courtesy of Kyodo News

As of press time, a 40-strong special search and rescue team equipped with the latest life detection equipment and two trained canines are on standby, ready to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and be sent to Japan, the MOI said.

Meanwhile, the National Fire Agency and various local fire departments have also been instructed to be prepared to be sent to disaster hit areas at a moment's notice, the MOI added.

According to an online report by The Japan Times, the magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocked Hokkaido at 3:08 a.m. Thursday, triggering landslides that engulfed houses, injuring hundreds of people and cutting power to millions across Hokkaido, northern Japan.

Photo courtesy of Kyodo News

The epicenter of the earthquake was east of the city of Tomakomai and felt 68-kilometers away in Hokkaido's capital of Sapporo, the report said, adding that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put the death toll at nine while the Hokkaido Prefectural Government said roughly 300 people were injured.

Currently, 31 people remain unaccounted for, the report noted.

Photo courtesy of Kyodo News

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has instructed MOFA to learn whether Taiwanese expatriates and travelers in Japan are safe and provide assistance if necessary, according to a separate statement by the Presidential Office.

Tsai also asked the ministry to convey her concern and condolences to Japan and expressed hope that the impact of the temblor will be minimal.

The earthquake came after Typhoon Jebi, the strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years, swept through western Japan Tuesday, leaving 11 people dead and more than 600 injured.

(By Li Shu-hua and William Yen)

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