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Taiwan in shock, Bishop Lai says, after 17 killed by earthquake

16 February 2018


A residential building in Hualien, Taiwan, was left tilting precariously after the area was hit by an earthquake last week

A residential building in Hualien, Taiwan, was left tilting precariously after the area was hit by an earthquake last week

THE Bishop of Taiwan, the Rt Revd David Lai, has spoken of the “shock and concern” felt by the people of his diocese in the aftermath of a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the town of Hualien, last week.

At least 17 people were killed, and a further 291 injured, when several high-rise buildings on the island of Taiwan, east of China, collapsed in the shocks on Tuesday of last week.

Rescue efforts have now ceased, but the authorities are continuing to work to remove the bodies of victims, and also debris at risk of further collapse.

Bishop Lai confirmed that he had sent funds of more than £6000 to help repair St Luke’s, Hualien, the only Episcopal church in the town. “Like many church buildings in Taiwan, the church is on the ground floor of a high building, with apartments above,” he said in a statement.

“Fortunately, the building did not sustain any structural damage. All church members are reported as safe, but many with damage to their homes and businesses, and, of course, shock and concern about ongoing aftershocks.”

The Vicar of St Luke’s, the Revd Joseph Wu, told the Bishop this week that the church was being cleaned and repairs had been started. The glass altar table was destroyed, and many of the interior furnishings were also badly damaged. Donations to the church would be used to help relief efforts in the community through the Chinese Christian Relief Association, he said.

Bishop Lai asked for prayers for the diocese: “Power- and water-cuts are an ongoing problem, and drinking-water is in very short supply.”

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