Taiwan quake: Two Indians missing; Modi expresses grief at loss of lives

New Delhi Two Indian nationals were reported missing on Wednesday after Taiwan’s biggest earthquake in at least 25 years, which killed nine people and injured more than 1,000.

Emergency personnel stand in front of a partially collapsed building leaning over a street in Hualien, after a major earthquake hit Taiwan’s east, on Wednesday. (AFP)

The missing Indians – a man and a woman – were last seen at Taroko Gorge, close to Hualien county, near the epicentre of the 7.4-magnitude quake, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity. A search was underway to locate them, the people said.

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A group of 50 workers travelling in four minibuses to a hotel in Taroko national park, named after Taroko Gorge, were reported missing, fire department officials told the media.

Taiwan is home to several thousand Indians, including 3,000 students. There were no other reports of Indians being affected by the quake, which struck offshore on Wednesday morning and triggered massive landslides.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among world leaders who expressed grief at the loss of lives and damage caused by the quake.

“Deeply saddened by the loss of lives due to the earthquake in Taiwan today. Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured. We stand in solidarity with the resilient people of Taiwan as they endure the aftermath and recover from it,” Modi said in a post on X.

It is rare for Indian leaders to publicly comment on developments related to Taiwan and Modi’s post on X was reciprocated by both President Tsai Ing-wen and president-elect Lai Ching-te.

“We are deeply grateful for your kind words and support, @narendramodi, at this challenging time. Your solidarity means a great deal to the people of Taiwan as we all work toward a swift recovery,” Tsai said in a post on X.

In a separate post, Lai said: “Thank you, Prime Minister Modi @narendramodi, for your heartwarming message. Your support & solidarity are a source of strength to the people of Taiwan during these trying times.”

The India Taipei Association, which is India’s de facto mission in Taiwan, extend its condolences to the victims and sympathies to communities affected by the earthquake. “We sincerely pray for the speedy recovery of those injured and stand ready with the people of Taiwan during these difficult times #IslandOfResilience,” the association posted on X.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry, in a post on X, said it was touched by Modi’s “heartfelt words of sympathy & solidarity”. It added: “Your compassion is deeply appreciated amid this dark hour for #Taiwan. We’re thankful for the kind thoughts from #India & will remain resilient as we rebuild & recover.”

The India Taipei Association said in an advisory that it had set up an emergency helpline for assistance, guidance and clarifications for Indian nationals in Taiwan. The helpline can be contacted at the mobile number 0905247906 or the email ID [email protected].

“All Indian nationals are further requested to follow advisories issued by the local authorities,” the association said.

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