(UPDATE) TAIWAN QUAKE KILLS 26

TAIPEI — The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck southern Taiwan had reached 26 by 3:50 p.m. Sunday.

The collapse of the Wei Guan building, the most seriously damaged, has killed 24.

At about 1:50 p.m., rescuers pulled from the Wei Guan building a man in his 20s, who later died.

A six-month-old girl was rescued but died. Her father was also among the deceased.

The rescuers are racing against time to save over 120 people who are still trapped in the rubble of the building.

Some of the island’s high-speed rail lines have suspended operations.

More than 600 rescuers, including fire fighters and volunteers, as well as 105 fire engines and 44 ambulances have been involved in the rescue.

Previous reports said more than 460 people were injured.

In the historic city of Tainan, eight buildings collapsed and another five were damaged.

The Chinese mainland has offered help. While addressing a lunar new year gathering on Saturday morning, Premier Li Keqiang sent condolences to the victims.

The 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit Kaohsiung at 3:57 a.m. Beijing Time on Saturday at a depth of 15 kilometers, the China Earthquake Networks Center said. The quake occurred two days prior to Spring Festival, the lunar new year.

Many mainland netizens posted messages expressing sympathy for Taiwan compatriots who are affected by the quake.

“Let’s pray for our Taiwan compatriots,” wrote netizen “Zuo’an Houniao.” PNA / Xinhua / northboundasia.com

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