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Two people were killed and 219 others injured on Wednesday after a 6.5-magnitude quake hit Taiwan.

Aftershocks rocked Taiwan's eastern coast on Thursday as rescue workers searched a teetering multi-story building for missing residents feared trapped inside more than 36 hours after a deadly quake.

The temblor, which affected the east coast of the island, killed at least 10 people and injured more than 270 others.

Working in the partially-collapsed Yun-men Tsui-di building, search and rescue personnel experienced dizziness and nausea due to spatial distortion as they combed through hotel suites and residential apartments tilted at an angle of 35-45 degrees while aftershocks shook and rocked the buildings.

"According to Taiwan immigration service, the body pulled out from the ruins this afternoon was that of our missing Filipino caretaker", the Manila Economic and Cultural Office said.

More than 220 aftershocks followed the main quake, including a 5.7 quake late on Wednesday.

The quake and the ensuing aftershocks destroyed a bridge and damaged paved roads and collapsed buildings, with at least six tall buildings tilting precariously on their sides.

As of 14:00 Thursday, 25 people had remained missing.

Local media and observers said Taipei's decision to allow the Japanese team to assist in the rescue operation but reject Beijing's offer was understandable at a time when cross-strait ties had deteriorated.

The confirmed death toll has climbed to six in a strong quake that hit near Taiwan's east coast.

President Tsai Ing-wen was at the scene of the quake on Wednesday morning, where she visited hospitals and relief centres. The victims were a 66-year-old male and a 60-year-old female.

Families of the deceased, regardless of whether they were Taiwanese or foreigners, would receive NT$600,000 (US$20,415) from the county government, while residents who lost their homes in the three residential buildings would receive NT$200,000, Fu said, adding that they should remain in the shelters set up by the county government.

"We have not seen a sign of a slowdown yet", he told Reuters by telephone.

Taiwanese rescuers Thursday braved aftershocks coursing through a dangerously leaning apartment block that was partially toppled by a deadly quake, as their search for survivors uncovered two more bodies.

It was the most severe natural disaster to hit Hualien in five decades, according to Fu.

"I didn't really dare stay at home", said Hualien resident Yang Yantin.

A magnitude 7.6 quake in central Taiwan killed more than 2,300 people in 1999.