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Taiwan earthquake injuries climb above 1,000, hotel workers still missing

HUALIEN - The number of people injured in a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in eastern Taiwan climbed past 1,000 on April 4 though the death toll remained steady at nine, with 42 workers on their way to a hotel in a national park still missing.

The temblor, the strongest in 25 years, hit on April 3 morning just as people were readying to go to work and school, focused on the largely rural and sparsely populated eastern county of Hualien.

Buildings also shook violently in the capital Taipei, but damage and disruption there was minimal.

Taiwan's fire department said the number of injuries had reached 1,038, and put the total number of missing at 48, including 42 hotel workers.

Late on April 3, the disaster management command centre said the search for the hotel workers on their way to Taroko Gorge, a national park, was a major focus for them.

Authorities planned to send in drones and helicopters to look for them and drop supplies if they are located.

Others who had been trapped are gradually being found and taken to safety.

On April 4, a helicopter rescued six people who had been trapped in a mining area, the fire department said.

The railway line to Hualien also re-opened ahead of schedule on April 4, though one rural station north of Hualien city remains closed due to damage, the railway administration said.

In Hualien city, where rescue work for people who had been trapped in buildings was now completed, some people slept outdoors overnight as dozens of aftershocks rocked the region.

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A woman who gave her family name as Yu, 52, said she checked herself into a tent on a sports ground at a temporary shelter late on April 3 night because she was too scared to sleep in her apartment, which she described as "a mess".

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