Wednesday, 21 February, 2018

Deadly magnitude-6.4 natural disaster hits Taiwan

CWB map of earthquake CWB map of earthquake
Glenn Montgomery | 07 February, 2018, 01:59

At least two people are dead and 202 injured - including tourists - after a 6.4-magnitude quake that struck just off the east coast of Taiwan late Tuesday, local police said.

The 6.4-magnitude quake was recorded at 11:50 p.m. and was centered about 14 miles northeast of Hualien, a city of 110,000 on Taiwan's east coast, the United States Geological Service reported.

The epicenter of the quake was at sea about 18.3 kilometers north of Hualien County Hall at a depth of 10 km, the bureau's Seismology Center said.

Early reports said that a 5.1 aftershock damaged a number of buildings in Hualien City, including the Marshal Hotel.

"We know there are people who are trapped inside - we can see lights inside the hotel", eyewitness Zeena Starbuck told the BBC.

Central News Agency posted photos showing a road fractured in several parts.

Most of the death toll from the February 2016 quake was from the 16-storey Wei-kuan apartment complex, which toppled on its side with many of its residents buried in the rubble.

Efforts to rescue people trapped inside is underway.

Rockfall, blackouts, gas leaks were also reported elsewhere. Another clip shows the damage caused inside a store.

Last night's quake follows one over the weekend off the coast of Hualien on the east of Taiwan, which lies along "Pacific Rim of Fire" known for seismic activity from Alaska to Southeast Asia.

There are now 80 New Zealanders registered on SafeTravel as being in Taiwan.

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