Thursday April 4, the day after the most powerful earthquake to hit Taiwan in twenty-five years, rescuers stepped up efforts to free dozens of people stuck in road tunnels. Ten people were killed and 1,067 were injured, according to a new report announced by the National Fire Fighting Agency. The 7.4 magnitude earthquake also destroyed roads and caused numerous landslides on the island.

The authorities are in contact with some 600 people stuck in tunnels, isolated areas or hotels, but cannot communicate with 38 others, whom they nevertheless consider safe. Dramatic video released by the island’s rescue operations center shows a helicopter extracting six miners trapped in a gypsum quarry near Hualien, not far from the offshore epicenter. Rescuers have located dozens more people trapped in a network of tunnels built in this area of ​​mountains and seaside cliffs.

Hundreds more took shelter at a luxury hotel and youth activity center near Taroko National Park after roads leading to both establishments were blocked by landslides. Around 4 p.m. (10 a.m. in Paris), a highway leading to Taroko National Park was cleared. A small group of people stranded for nearly thirty hours emerged, greeted by rescuers who distributed water and directed some to the first aid tent. “I hope we can use the time we have today to find all the stranded or missing people and help them recover,” Taiwan Prime Minister Chen Chien-jen said Thursday after a briefing in a rescue center in Hualien.

Warning against landslides and rockfalls

In the city of Hualien, the most affected, on the east coast of the island, many residents had to spend the night outside, fleeing apartments that were still shaking. The island has been rocked by more than 300 aftershocks since the first earthquake on Wednesday, and the government has warned people of landslides and rockfalls. “Do not go to the mountains unless necessary,” warned President Tsai Ing-wen in a message as Qingming begins on Thursday, two public holidays during which families usually visit the graves of their ancestors.

Social media was flooded with spectacular videos and images of the earthquake from all over the island. In one clip, a man is seen struggling to get out of a rooftop swimming pool amid strong waves caused by the shaking.

Situated on the border of several tectonic plates, Taiwan is regularly hit by earthquakes, but strict building regulations and good preparation for natural disasters appear to have avoided a major disaster on the island. In September 1999, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake killed 2,400 people, the worst natural disaster in Taiwan’s modern history.