Search Continues for Missing People After 72-Hour Window Ends in Quake-Hit Taiwan; Weather Complicating Rescue Efforts

Ichiro Ohara / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Work to demolish a building tilted by the powerful earthquake is underway in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, on Saturday.

HUALIEN, Taiwan — Seventy-two hours, the point at which the survival rate of disaster victims is said to drop sharply, passed Saturday morning after a powerful earthquake occurred off Hualien, eastern Taiwan.

According to Taiwan authorities, 12 people, including foreign nationals, remain unaccounted for, and search and rescue efforts are continuing amid light rain.

The earthquake has left 10 people dead and 1,135 others injured.

At hotels and elementary schools along the Taroko Gorge, 637 people remain stranded. Rescue workers planned to rescue them by helicopter. However, low clouds reduced visibility over a steep mountainous area, making it unclear whether the rescue operations could be conducted smoothly.

The Japanese government has expressed its support and sympathy for Taiwan. In response, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen posted a message in Japanese on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday: “We are partners who have worked hand in hand many times and overcome many difficulties … On behalf of the government and people of Taiwan, I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Japanese people.”