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Final bodies recovered from Taiwan quake rubble

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TAIPEI (AFP) – The last two victims of an earthquake that hit the Taiwan tourist hotspot of Hualien three weeks ago have finally been removed from the rubble of a collapsed hotel. The Chinese couple, who were on a sightseeing trip, were among the 17 dead after a 6.4-magnitude quake toppled buildings in the coastal town on February 6. But their bodies remained in a second-floor hotel in the 12-storey Yun Tsui building, which was left leaning at around a 50-degree angle by the quake. Three other members of the couple’s family were also killed in the quake. Of the 17 people who died, 14 perished in the Yun Tsui building. Taiwan’s worst quake in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude tremor in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people. The disaster prompted stricter building codes but many older buildings remain perilously vulnerable to even moderate quakes.

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