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Major earthquakes kills at least 26, injures hundreds in Taiwan

At least 26 people are dead and more than 100 are missing after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan’s southern city of Tainan in the early-morning hours on Saturday.

Hundred more were injured, some trapped amid the rubble of collapsed buildings, as thousands of emergency workers descended on an unsettling scene of twisted steel and steaming debris across the coastal city.

Rescue personnel work at the site where a 17-storey apartment building collapsed, after an earthquake in Tainan, southern Taiwan, February 6, 2016. Patrick Lin/Reuters

Rescue personnel work at the site where a 17-storey apartment building collapsed, after an earthquake in Tainan, southern Taiwan, February 6, 2016. Patrick Lin/Reuters

At least nine buildings collapsed around Tainan, a city of more than 1.8 million people, and several more etched dangerously close to buckling, Reuters reported.

Rescue efforts centered on a caved-in 17-story residential building where more than 250 people lived in 96 apartments. Almost all of the fatalities including a 10-day-old infant and her father were discovered there, local authorities said, as search teams dug through the wreckage throughout the day and into the darkness of night.

More than 350 people have been reported injured and 500 rescued, some found buried in pockets underneath the collapsed buildings.

The earthquake rattled the region at 3:57 a.m. when many people were likely sleeping, according to the Taipei Times, an english-language newspaper.

The tremor was felt nearly 200 miles away in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei.

“I was watching TV and after a sudden burst of shaking, I heard a boom,”one neighbor who lived nearby the apartment building told Reuters. “I opened my metal door and saw the building opposite fall down.”

A woman prays for her relatives who were inside a 17-storey apartment building which collapsed after an earthquake hit Tainan, southern Taiwan February 6, 2016. Tyrone Siu/Reuters

A woman prays for her relatives who were inside a 17-storey apartment building which collapsed after an earthquake hit Tainan, southern Taiwan February 6, 2016. Tyrone Siu/Reuters

The United States Geological Survey reported that the earthquakes epicenter was recorded about 15 miles outside of Tainan.

Several nearby country’s including China on Saturday offered to assist in the rescue operations, while the U.S. Department of State issued a statement offering support.

“On behalf of the American people we express our deepest condolences over the recent devastation and loss of life caused by the earthquake in southern Taiwan,” the statement read. “The heartfelt thoughts of the American people are with all those affected in Taiwan.”

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