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May 1, 2017

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Earthquake injures 64; 545,066 homes suffer blackouts

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan -- The Kaohsiung 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck yesterday morning had no reports of death as of last night, though there were 64 cases of reported injuries. According to the National Disasters Prevention and Protection Commission (NDPPC), there were five fire accidents, 13 gas leaks, 16 trapped lifts, 34 damaged schools, power outages in 545,066 homes, water outages in about 200 homes and disruptions of communications and transport.

President Ma Ying-jeou has activated an earthquake response mechanism and asked relevant government agencies to provide help as well as obtain the latest firsthand information about the quake. Premier Wu Den-yih called on local government heads in southern Taiwan to submit requests for central government assistance. Ma had flown to Tainan to give orders at the NDPPC center yesterday afternoon.

Military helicopters, troops and firefighters were sent to Jiashan to assess the damages and provide support. The Red Cross Society had sent emergency teams to the area. World Vision Taiwan had also sent social workers to provide any help needed.

The most serious incident of the five fires occurred at a factory of Everest Textile in Tainan. The six-storey factory had burnt for more than ten hours and sent huge plumes of black smoke billowing into the air. 30 fire engines were sent to put out the fire. The damages caused over NT$100 million in damages.

340 schools had different degrees of damages, resulting in financial losses estimated at NT$270 million. Three schools had cancelled the classes.

Services on the southern half of Taiwan's high-speed rail were suspended for the whole day yesterday. Other train services in the area and the Kaohsiung city subway service was disrupted, but resumed later in the morning.

Kaomei Bridge connecting Kaohsiung County and Pingdong County had sunk 10 cm and was blocked. It was reopened in the afternoon after repair and safety inspections.

Some temporary housing built for typhoon Morakot survivors had collapsed.

Three historical sites were damaged, including Tainan Official God of War Temple(台南古祀典武廟), Chung Tou Tang Jung Brickkiln Factory (中都唐榮磚窯場) and Old Fongshan City East Gate (鳳山舊城東門). Headquarters Administration of Cultural Heritage has set up a special group to assess the damages.

Kaohsiung government said if their homes or other properties were damaged by the earthquake, victims can apply for a tax exemption within 30 days.

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