PM Lee offers help and support to Taiwanese

Rescuers continue to search for survivors from a collapsed building following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the area in Tainan City, Taiwan, on Feb 6, 2016.
Rescuers continue to search for survivors from a collapsed building following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the area in Tainan City, Taiwan, on Feb 6, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has offered Taiwan support and help, while expressing regret for the loss of lives wrought by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Tainan yesterday morning.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Lee said he was "saddened to hear about the loss of lives and damage".

At least 14 people have been reported killed so far. There have been no reports of Singaporean casualties.

"My thoughts are with the affected families. It must be especially difficult with the New Year approaching and everyone looking forward to the celebrations," said Mr Lee.

Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) Lionheart contingent was ready to be deployed. "We have offered to send our SCDF Lionheart contingent to assist with rescue efforts, and they are on stand-by should the Taiwanese authorities need our assistance."

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan sent his condolences to those who had lost loved ones in the earthquake. He said the Singapore Trade Office in Taipei was contacting registered Singaporeans in the vicinity of the earthquake and in the whole of Taiwan.

"Thus far, we have not received any reports of any Singaporean casualties," he added. "The Taiwanese authorities have also told us that there are no reports of any affected Singaporeans. We will continue with our contact-tracing efforts."

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in a Facebook post that the tragedy coming just before the Chinese New Year makes it even more dreadful for the victims, including the hundreds of thousands of households left without power.

"Mindef (Ministry of Defence) has offered SAF's (Singapore Armed Forces) assistance to authorities in Taiwan. We want them to know we are always there to help in such times of need," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 07, 2016, with the headline 'PM Lee offers help and support to Taiwanese'. Print Edition | Subscribe