Nichole Davila-Sanchez, Staff Writer
On Feb. 6, 2016, at approximately 3 a.m. EST, the country of Taiwan was hit by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that caused a 17-story apartment building in Tainan City to collapse like a house of cards. There have been 32 confirmed deaths.
While the city’s census shows that 260 people lived in the apartment complex, it is suspected that 300 people could have easily been in the building, celebrating the Lunar New Year festival that starts on Monday, Feb. 8. Rescue efforts by soldiers assisted by cranes, K-9 units, and their tech equipment have proven fruitful with about 200 people rescued from the debris.
In an interview with CBS Radio News, Wendy Chuang, a reporter in Taiwan, mentioned that the Weiguan Jinlong building was, “unidentifiable.”
“Actually, if no one told me, it’s hard to tell that’s a building because it just fell down and you can’t tell which way it fell down actually,” Chuang stated. “You can’t find where’s the doors, where’s the front, where’s the back.”
The fall of the Weiguan Jinlong (Golden Dragon) building in Tainan City caused 500 people to be injured. here has been concern about possible lawsuits from the survivors, as this collapse has led some to wonder if the building was poorly constructed.
The Weiguan Jinlong building was constructed in 1989, and although there have been murmurs about the underlying cause being the building’s faulty construction, for its spectacular collapse, the Tainan government maintains that the building was not listed as a dangerous structure.
According to BBC News, Tainan mayor William Lai mentioned that he has contacted the judicial units and the prosecutors have formally launched investigation.
“We’ve also commissioned three independent bodies to preserve evidence during the rescue so we can assist the residents if they want to file lawsuits in the future. We will hold the builder responsible if they have broken the law,” Lai said.”
This of little comfort to the hundred of families still waiting to hear some news about their loved ones still trapped beneath the Weiguan Jinlong building. The number continues to rise thanks to the tireless efforts of the rescue teams, volunteers, and medical staff helping in the aftermath of this unfortunate incident.
Two of the people rescued were 20 year old Mao Yi-Chen and her older sister Mao Yi-Hsuan. Although they were found in serious condition, local official Wang Ding-yu said that a rescue worker gathered a photo album and homemade cards located beside the young woman when discovered, for her family. According to Wang, “He said that ‘maybe your home is damaged, but memories of the family can last.”
Although this natural disaster has change the lives of hundreds of people,it has also become a call for humanity to band together to assist those in need. As Daryn Kagan once said, “Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”