AA day after an earthquake hit Taiwan's east coast, public transport and businesses have largely resumed operations. The death toll rose to 10 on Thursday, which is low considering the magnitude of the 7.2 earthquake. Taiwan's infrastructure largely withstood the worst earthquake since 1999.

Jochen Stahnke

China, Taiwan and North Korea political correspondent in Beijing.

Only one person died in his house: a single teacher returned to his damaged building in the center of the small city of Hualien minutes after the actual rescue to save the cat. A 33-year-old woman was killed in an aftershock in a leaning ten-story building, Taiwanese television reported.

The remaining nine of the 10 known victims of the earthquake so far died in a rock fall in rural Hualien. They include several hikers in Taroko National Park, as well as mining and road construction workers who were on the edge of the rapidly rising mountains from the coast when the earthquake struck. Hualien is a popular tourist area.

The world's largest semiconductor manufacturer resumed operations almost immediately

Several hundred people were also reported on Thursday, about forty of whom the authorities were unable to contact. Among them are about 30 workers at a luxury hotel in Taroko National Park, where the earthquake was particularly strong. Most of the other missing people are said to be hotel guests who may have left the area under their own power.

Rescue services save the tenth victim of the earthquake.


Rescue services save the tenth victim of the earthquake.
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Image: AP

This week's earthquake was Taiwan's worst since 1999, killing about 2,400 people. Since then, additional regulations have made especially new buildings significantly more earthquake resistant, which also explains the low death toll compared to earthquake disasters elsewhere in the world.

TSMC, the world's most advanced semiconductor manufacturer, for example, largely restarted production a few hours after the earthquake. According to TSMC, the earthquake damaged only a few instruments in the semiconductor factories and no lithography machines. On the one hand, this is because the main TSMC factories are located on the west coast, and therefore on the other side of Taiwan. For example, at the Hsinchu production site, the earthquake was given a magnitude of five. On the other hand, TSMC has apparently expanded its defenses significantly since the 1999 earthquake. This time, the employees were not injured, the company said.

Many condolences from all over the world

While Taiwan's death toll remained low, international sympathy was higher than in previous earthquakes. The Office of the President of Taiwan thanked approximately fifty countries for their expressions of solidarity. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, European Union Council President Charles Michel and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron expressed their condolences. Many other governments offered support.

This included the People's Republic of China censoring malicious comments by nationalist Chinese on Chinese social media. Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council expressed its gratitude for the concern and replied that there was no need for disaster relief from the mainland.

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