Quake specialists arrive

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The Independent Online
THE UNITED States, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Japan, Singapore and Israel dispatched experts to Taiwan yesterday to help rescue earthquake victims, while the United Nations said it was sending a disaster assessment team.Tuesday's earthquake left more than 1,700 people dead and some 100,000 homeless. The death toll is expected to mount as teams dig through the rubble of collapsed buildings.

America's elite Fairfax County (Virginia) Urban Search and Rescue Team flew into Taichung, near the most heavily hit areas of Taiwan. They set off immediately for the scene of a massive apartment building cave-in in the town of Touliu in west-central Taiwan. Dozens of people died in Touliu, but it was unclear how many survivors might be trapped in the rubble.The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry is contributing 74 crack rescuers.

Also coming to Taiwan's aid are teams from Japan, Singapore and Israel. Forty search and rescue experts, nine dogs and 20 tons of material are arriving from the Swiss Disaster Relief Unit.

Also participating will be volunteers from Turkey's AKUT, a group which rescued hundreds of victims of its own earthquake and assisted during the recent one in Greece.

The Japanese government sent a 41-member rescue team and pledged pounds 500,000 aid (AP).