No reports of Singaporeans being injured in Hualien earthquake

Rescue workers are seen at a damaged building after an earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan on Feb 7, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - There are no reports of any Singaporeans being injured in the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Hualien, Taiwan, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Wednesday (Feb 7).

The earthquake, which struck late Tuesday night (Feb 6), has left at least four dead, 225 injured and about 145 missing, according to the latest report released by the Central Emergency Operation Centre.

The MFA has reached out to eRegistered Singaporeans in Taiwan and ascertained that all eRegistered Singaporeans in Hualien are safe.

"The Singapore Trade Office is in close contact with the local authorities and thus far there are no reports of Singaporeans injured by the earthquake," it said.

According to Central News Agency (Taiwan), two Singaporeans are among 31 foreigners affected by the earthquake.

"The Singapore Government is saddened to learn of the loss of lives and damage caused by the earthquake... we send our condolences to those affected by the disaster and stand ready to offer our assistance if required," said the MFA.

Taiwan Tourism Board's Singapore Office said that areas affected by the quake include "downtown Hualien, with some collapsed buildings." Tourist attractions in other parts of Taiwan are still "safe to travel", it added.

Still, Singaporeans in the affected areas are advised to stay away from locations that have been badly damaged by the earthquake, monitor the local news for updates and heed the advice of the local authorities, said MFA.

"You should also stay in touch with your family and friends so that they know you are safe," said the MFA.

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Travel agencies here told The Straits Times that they will make "the necessary adjustments" to tours headed for Taiwan in the coming festive period, though no such tours have been cancelled or postponed.

"Dynasty Travel's Chinese New Year tours do not include Hualien, but 'free and easy' customers will be asked to avoid the area. We will make adjustments to their itineraries too, such as recommending Sun Moon Lake in Taichung as opposed to Hualien to see the Taroko Gorge," said Ms Alicia Seah, marketing communications director at Dynasty Travel.

At Chan Brothers, 'free and easy' customers have a 24-hour hotline for emergency support, said marketing communications executive Justine Koh. If required, necessary flight or itinerary changes will be made too, she added.

The MFA will continue to monitor the situation to render the necessary assistance to any affected Singaporeans.

Those who require consular assistance should contact the Singapore Trade Office in Taipei at +886 2-2772 1940/ +886 953 532 638 or the 24-hour MFA Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/8855.

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