Photos from around Taiwan
     The international coverage of the quake focused almost entirely on toppled highrises in Taipei and the dramatic rescue efforts there. As a counterpoint, these pictures are from around the island, some by local photographers. Almost all are from the Internet.
(click here for photo pages)
A trip to the epicenter
     We were travellers with a mission. My brother Ralph, sister-in-law Carol Gwo and I set out for central Taiwan the day before the big quake. We were accompanying Carol while she fulfilled a long-time dream...
(click here for trip pages)
  About the quake
Taiwan awed by
randomness of destruction
Excerpted from the Boston Globe, Reuters, and AP stories 

(Fengyuan, Taiwan)--The destruction in some of the hardest hit areas in Taiwan's devastating earthquake was a vivid splay of just how random an earthquake can seem. For the inhabitants of one building, it can be massively deadly, and for the next, astonishingly benign. The quake, which killed more than 2,100 people and measured 7.6 on the Richter scale, struck with little pattern. In many areas near the quake's epicenter in central Taiwan, an unscathed house sits just yards away from one that is tilted and mangled.

Rescue teams continue to dig for the estimated 400 people still trapped. But overall, hope is waning. Much effort is now concentrating on the possibly 200,000 homeless Taiwanese, who fear their homes are unsafe, especially in the wake of severe aftershocks. A total of 4,300 have been registered since the quake.

Earthquake rescue forces from many countries, including the United States, Singapore, and Turkey, continue to aid Taiwan in its dwindling search for survivors. And after some diplomatic chest-puffing, Taiwan has accepted an offer of $100,000 in assistance from its nemesis China, but rebuffed an offer of medical teams.

Early Thursday morning in Fengyuan, sonar brought in by the British detected the sounds of what one official said was probably a child. But the noise stopped, and never resumed. The British team moved off to another site in the area, in an increasingly fruitless quest for survivors.

At the same time, a family of mourners circled the building, performing a Taoist ritual called chao whun, that seeks to call back to them the souls of dead relatives. They paraded silently around the building and through the lines of rescuers, led by a woman in a long black robe rhythmically clanging a small bell.

Some of the survivors blame shoddy construction for much of the of the destruction here. ''I think maybe the earthquake was too heavy and the construction too weak,'' said Thomas Tang, fire department commissioner for Fengyuan and the wider Taichung county, as he watched his rescue teams call for air filters to prepare for the stench of dead bodies. The taller buildings, many Taiwanese now say, were unsafely constructed with faulty steel. According to news media reports, one contractor has been arrested in connection with three collapsed structures, and a building company has had its assets frozen by the government.

Some anger is being directed at the government as well for being slow to reach remote mountain villages. But few are faulting the response of ordinary Taiwanese. In Fengyuan's huge municipal stadium, hundreds of people, mostly students, formed a bucket brigade, passing from hand to hand boxes of supplies for quake victims donated by the local population. The boxes were then loaded onto waiting trucks and helicopters.

In the town of Puli, close to the quake's epicenter, thousands of people are living in tents and surviving on these handouts. Many are camped across the street from their ruined homes, with the few belongings they managed to salvage.