TAIPEI — A powerful magnitude 6.4 earthquake toppled a 17-storey apartment building in southern Taiwan, killing at least five people and triggering frantic efforts to rescue about 35 people feared trapped inside.
Several buildings in the city of 2 million people tilted at alarming angles but a fire department official said rescue efforts were now focused entirely on the apartment block.
The quake was centred 43 kilometres south-east of Tainan, at a depth of 23 kilometres, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.
The fatalities include a baby and a 40-year-old man, after a complex of towers collapsed when the tremor struck at the start of a Lunar New Year holiday.
Rescuers mounted hydraulic ladders and a crane to scour the wreckage, plucking more than 120 survivors to safety, with dozens taken to hospital, an official said.
“I was watching TV and after a sudden burst of shaking, I heard a boom,” said a 71-year-old neighbour who gave his name as Chang.
“I opened my metal door and saw the building opposite fall down,” he added.
At least five aftershocks of magnitude 3.8 or more shook Tainan about 30 minutes after the initial quake, according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau.
Rescuers used dogs and acoustic equipment to pick up signs of life in the rubble.
“There are 60 households in that building,” said Tainan City Government Fire Bureau information officer Lee Po Min, estimating that there might be about 240 people living there.
One city hospital said 58 people had been brought in, most of them with light injuries.
The fire department said a total of 115 people had been taken to hospital from around Tainan.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said 810 soldiers had been mobilised for rescue efforts.
Regular bedtime beneficial for heart and metabolic health among older adults
KATHMANDU — Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But a new study on sleep patterns has suggested that a regular bedtime and wake time are just as important for heart and metabolic health among older adults too.
Researchers at Duke Health and the Duke Clinical Research Institute, in a study of 1,978 older adults, have found that people with irregular sleep patterns weighed more, had higher blood sugar, higher blood pressure, and a higher projected risk of having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years than those who slept and woke at the same times every day.
The study was published Sept 21 in the journal Scientific Reports.
“From our study, we can’t conclude that sleep irregularity results in health risks, or whether health conditions affect sleep,” said study’s lead author Jessica Lunsford-Avery.
“Perhaps all of these things are impacting each other.”
African-Americans had the most irregular sleep patterns compared to participants who were white, Chinese-American or Hispanic, the data showed.
Still, the data suggest tracking sleep regularity could help identify people at risk of disease, and where health disparities may impact specific groups.
Irregular sleepers were also more likely to report depression and stress than regular sleepers, both of which are tied to heart health.Follow @gorkhapost