Taiwan Hit By Strong Earthquake; Few Dead, Ton Missing, Hundreds Injured

February 6, 2018 11:58 pm4 commentsViews: 18

A powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan overnight collapsing buildings, including a military hospital. At least four people have been reported dead and 145 others are missing in the tourist city of Hualien. Rescuers combed through the rubble using hands in search of trapped people. More than 200 have been injured including Chinese, Czech and Japanese nationals.

The quake hit near the coastal city at around 1600 GMT, just before midnight on Tuesday. The epicenter was 22 km northeast of Hualien. Taiwanese government said aftershocks of up to 5.0 magnitude could hit in next two weeks.

The self-ruled island to which China claims its territory has the population of about 100,000. Following the quake about 1,900 homes were left without power and around 40,000 homes were left without water.

Couple of roads was cordoned off while emergency workers tried to rescue trapped people from damaged residential buildings.

A restaurant owner said, “We were still open when it happened… I grabbed my wife and children and we ran out and tried to rescue people.”

President Tsai Ing-wen visited the damaged area early on Wednesday to help direct rescue operations.

He said, “The president has asked the cabinet and related ministries to immediately launch the ‘disaster mechanism’ and to work at the fastest rate on disaster relief work.”

Hualien lies near two tectonic plates junction and the island is prone to earthquakes. On Sunday it experienced a 6.1-magnitude earthquake. In 2016 over a ton people were killed in a massive earthquake in southern Taiwan. In 1999 the country was hit by a 7.6 magnitude quake in which more than 2,000 people were killed.

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