The death toll from the earthquake in Taiwan rises to 12

Earthquake in Taiwan

Earthquake in Taiwan

Photo: Associated Press

The death toll from the earthquake in Taiwan has risen to 12.

Rescuers there are facing the threat of further landslides and rockslides in the search for a number of people missing from this week's earthquake.

Searchers discovered two more bodies after Wednesday's 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck the largely rural eastern county of Hualien, trapping hundreds in a national park as rocks tumbled down mountains, blocking roads, Reuters reports. 

About 50 other earthquakes have hit the country overnight after the first quake, some of which were also felt in Taipei. 

"Rain increases the risks of rock falls and landslides, which are currently the biggest challenges," said Su Yu-ming, head of a research team.

"These factors are unpredictable, which means we cannot confirm the number of days needed for search and rescue operations," he added.

Taiwan's fire department said two bodies were found in the mountains, but did not immediately update the death toll. The number of missing is 18, three of them foreigners with Australian and Canadian nationality.