Taiwan Residents Grieving a Week after Powerful Quake; President Tsai to Visit Disaster Area, Comfort Victims

Takahiro Suzuki/The Yomiuri Shimbun
A building is demolished in the center of Hualien, eastern Taiwan, on Wednesday.

HUALIEN, Taiwan — A week after a powerful earthquake struck off Taiwan’s eastern coast of Hualien, people are grieving and many residents continue to live in temporary shelters.

The death toll has risen to 13, while six people including two foreigners were still missing as of Wednesday.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will visit the quake-hit area Wednesday afternoon for the first time since the disaster to encourage residents living as evacuees.

One building in downtown Hualien has had its upper floors demolished, while the first floor has collapsed and is leaning heavily to one side.

There were 70 apartment blocks and other buildings in Hualien that had been declared uninhabitable as of Tuesday, affecting about 2,100 households.

“I couldn’t get anything out of my house. I can’t see a future,” said a 47-year-old civil servant who evacuated from the area.

Now comes the difficulty of rebuilding the lives of disaster victims. A consultation desk has been set up at a municipal office, and many have paid a visit.