Scores of emergency responders combed the rubble of the lower floors of the 12-storey Yun Tsui apartment block, which housed the Beauty Stay Hotel and had pancaked during the quake, leaving the building leaning at a 50-degree angle which complicated the rescue effort due to fears of an imminent collapse.
Chen Deming, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, also said the mainland was willing to assist with the quake relief, including sending rescue teams to the island.
The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) on Thursday night confirmed that the missing Filipina from the 6.4 magnitude natural disaster that hit Hualien, Taiwan on Tuesday is found dead in the rubble of a building she was trapped in. Six mainland Chinese were also injured, the Chinese Communist Party-run People's Daily reported.
More than 270 people were injured.
He was fortunate that he was not at home and that his parents were at their own place at the time of the quake, he said, but he still felt a sense of loss because he had just bought the unit in the Yun Men Tsui Ti building six months earlier.
"As he encourages the civil authorities and emergency personnel engaged in rescue efforts, His Holiness willingly invokes upon all the Taiwanese people the divine blessings of strength and peace", the message read.
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The force of the tremor buckled roads and disrupted electricity and water supplies to thousands of households, the fire agency said.
Other buildings slanted at alarming degrees and rescuers used ladders, ropes and cranes to move residents to safety.
Bridges and some highways along Taiwan's east coast were closed pending inspections. "We offer our support during this hard time as we continue to monitor rescue efforts and pray that more people are found".
Taiwan's location along one of the many seismic faults that encircles the Pacific Ocean means the country frequently experiences earthquakes. Five people involved in the construction of the complex were found guilty of negligence and given prison sentences.
Taiwan has frequent earthquakes, majority minor, but a 1999 quake killed more than 2,300 people and was Taiwan's worst recent natural disaster.