TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Five Taiwanese citizens are believed to be trapped in the rubble of a fallen office building in the east side of Mexico City after a massive magnitude 7.1 rocked Mexico yesterday, according to Taiwan's representative to the country Carlos Liao (廖世傑), reported CNA.
Among the five Taiwanese nationals believed to be trapped inside the collapsed structure is a businessman identified as Chen Po-wen (陳博文), who ran a plastics and shoe business inside the building, according a CNA interview with Liao. There are also nine Mexican employees believed to be still trapped in the rubble. Relevant departments are putting all of their efforts into the rescue and Taiwan's representative office has sent personnel to assess the situation and provide assistance, said Liao.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chen's company is located in the city of Papalotla in the state of Tlaxcala, approximately 38 kilometers southeast of Mexico City.
According to Liao, his office is also in contact with the local Taiwan Chamber of Commerce and the Taiwanese Businessman's Association to find out if there are any other Taiwanese citizens unaccounted for. However, there have been no other reports of Taiwanese business people or their dependents being seriously affected by the earthquake thus far.
Li Hou-k'un (李侯昆) of the Taiwanese Association of Mexico told Apple Daily that the old east sector of Mexico City, the southern University district, and the central district have been heavily impacted by the quake. As there are many small and medium-sized businesses in those old areas, including many Taiwanese companies, said Li.
Liao described the earth as rising up and down during the temblor and said it lasted about 30 seconds.
In a bizarre coincidence, the quake occurred on Sept. 19, the 32nd anniversary of the devastating 1985 quake, which registered 8.0 on the Richter scale and killed at least 4,200 people. Ironically, many had taken part in an earthquake drill only hours earlier in the day.
Thus far, at least 226 people have been confirmed dead in yesterday's quake, with thousands of soldiers, first responders and volunteers working together to clear the rubble of collapsed buildings and rescue those still trapped inside.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 123 kilometers southeast of Mexico City and struck at 1:14 p.m. (2:15 p.m. EDT).
The deadly earthquake came only 12 days after a 8.1 earthquake, now known as the Chiapas Earthquake, that also struck Mexico, the second strongest in its history behind a magnitude 8.6 quake that struck in 1787. Based on the latest estimates, the Chiapas quake destroyed 41,000 homes and claimed the lives of at least 98 people.