*** ----> Taiwan quake death toll rises to 16 | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Taiwan quake death toll rises to 16

AFP | Taipei       

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

The toll from a massive earthquake that struck Taiwan last week rose to 16 on Wednesday after three more bodies were found on a hiking trail, officials said.

The magnitude 7.4 quake that hit the island on April 3 also left more than 1,100 people injured, with strict building codes and widespread disaster readiness credited with averting an even bigger catastrophe.

Authorities discovered the three victims Wednesday as they worked to retrieve two other bodies buried under the rocks along the Shakadang Trail in eastern Taiwan's Hualien county, the quake's epicentre.

The new fatalities brought the toll from the quake to 16, according to the National Fire Agency.

Three people remain missing in the Shakadang Trail, including two Singaporean Australians, the agency said.

President Tsai Ing-wen visited Hualien on Wednesday to thank rescuers and pledge speedy disaster relief for quake-hit areas.

"Everyone has worked hard this past week and thank you very much for your efforts," Tsai said.

"The central government is fully committed and working closely with local governments to implement post-disaster recovery and revitalisation plans at the fastest speed."

Last Wednesday's earthquake was the most serious in Taiwan since a magnitude 7.6 quake hit the island in 1999.

The death toll from that quake reached 2,400, making it the deadliest natural disaster in the island's history.

Stricter regulations appear to have staved off a more serious catastrophe this time around.