Mayor: Tainan quake victims 'very difficult' to reach

At least 23 people have died following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in the Taiwan city of Tainan on Saturday morning (local time).

Rescuers worked throughout the night to save people trapped beneath rubble of a collapsed 16-storey residential apartment building, but the city’s mayor has said it will be "very difficult" to reach the dozens still trapped, The Guardian reports.

ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH AND INJURY Rescue workers transport a body from the site where a 17-story apartment building collapsed after an earthquake hit Tainan, southern Taiwan February 7, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu - RTX25T3G

(Reuters)

"Of the 132 people desperately waiting for rescue, 103 people are buried very deep, there’s no way to get to them direct, it’s very difficult," said Tainan Mayor William Lai on Sunday.

The complex was home to more than 100 families, who were gathering for the beginning of Chinese New Year.

Firefighters, police, soldiers and volunteers have scaled the ruins, using their hands and ladders to find victims of the quake.

Rescuers carry a 20-year-old male survivor, identified by Taiwan media as Huang Kuang-wei, out from the site where a 17-storey apartment building collapsed after an earthquake hit Tainan, southern Taiwan February 7, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu       TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX25SYF

(Reuters)

Mr Lai told reporters efforts were focusing on 29 people who are closest to the rescuers, with lighter equipment like drills being used, according to The Guardian.

Questions have been raised over the construction of the building in the 1990s, however city officials have said it is too early to be certain if poor construction was a factor in the collapse.

More than 240 survivors have been pulled from the rubble. Buildings in nine other locations across the city, which has a population of two million, have also collapsed, according to a government emergency centre.

Many residents were without water and food supplies on Sunday.

Newshub.