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Pope sends condolences to Taiwan after earthquakes

VATICAN  (CNS): Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with the people of Taiwan after high-magnitude earthquakes on February 6 and 7 devastated the island nation, killing at least nine people and injuring hundreds more.
In a telegramme sent by the Vatican, the pope offered “the assurance of his prayers for those who have lost their lives and for those who have been injured.” 
The message went on to say, “As he encourages the civil authorities and emergency personnel engaged in the rescue efforts, His Holiness willingly invokes upon all the Taiwanese people the divine blessings of strength and peace.” 
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake rocked the east coast of Taiwan late on February 6 causing immense destruction in the coastal city of Hualien; the second magnitude 5.7 quake struck in roughly the same area on February 7. 
The Associated Press reported on February 8 more than 260 people were injured and 10 people remained unaccounted for in Hualien County.
In response, a rescue team from Japan arrived on February 8 to aid in search and rescue efforts. The government of Taiwan had earlier rejected an offer of help from China claiming it had enough manpower and resources, and did not require outside help.

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