Seeds: The morning of Saturday, February 6, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 shook Taiwan. Five more aftershocks followed, leaving the southern city of Tainan, Taiwan in shambles. After the earthquake, 310 people were rescued from collapsed buildings and 38 were found dead.
Core: A total of 500 people were injured in Taiwan and around 121 people are still unaccounted for. Around 900,000 homes lost power and 400,000 lost water. Even popstar Madonna felt the earthquake while on the island for a show, and she offered her condolences to her audience the night of the 6th.
Skin: A large amount of media coverage had been focused on the Weiguan Jinlong apartment complex. 36 of the building's 300 occupants lost their lives during the earthquake, accounting for all but 2 of the its victims. The apartment complex was also one of the only buildings in the city of Tainan to fall, raising suspicions about its foundations. Investigators found cooking oil cans used as structural fillers throughout the building, which may have caused instability. However, debates over whether or not the shoddy construction could have exacerbated the earthquake’s effect on the building continue. Either way, discussion has surrounded potential lawsuits on behalf of the victims and their families.
Leaves: Due to the devastation, Taiwan is in mourning despite the disaster's coinciding with the Lunar New Year. Traditional celebrations have been cancelled and the island has come together in solidarity with the victims, praying for the injured and deceased. Instead of colorful, spectacular parades, one lone strand of paper lanterns lines the sky in front of a toppled building. Attempting to put it into perspective, Elise Hu, an NPR correspondent stationed in Taipei, the island's capital city, told CNN, “If you can imagine something like this happening during Thanksgiving holiday weekend, for Christmas travel, that’s the equivalent of what’s happening in Taiwan right now.”
Food for Thought: What do you think about the odds of shoddy construction being the fault for the collapse of a highly populated building? Should someone be blamed? Should the international community send aid to the affected areas of Taiwan? Tell us what you think.
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