Deadly natural disaster strikes Taiwan

Glen Norman
February 7, 2018

The large building in Hualien looked very close to collapsing completely. The quake's magnitude was 6.4.

Earthquakes are a fairly common occurrence in Taiwan, which sits on the boundary of two tectonic plates - the Philippine Sea Plate to the East and the Eurasian Plate.

Since Feb. 4, about 100 sensible earthquakes have jolted the area.

Citing Taiwan Premier William Lai, the AP reported there were two dead and 144 injured. The agency posted photos showing a road fractured in several parts.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered 13 miles north-northeast of Hualien, a city of more than 100,000 on Taiwan's east coast.

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.

An natural disaster has severely damaged buildings and trapped dozens of people in the Taiwanese city of Hualien.

Authorities said some people remained trapped but were unable to give an overall figure.

Gas leaks, blackouts and rock slides were also reported.

Many residents fled to the streets of Hualien county, the epicentre of the quake, in panic as buildings including a hotel buckled under the shock, Taiwanese media reported.

Video shows rescuers helping people out of the building. One building was partially collapsed and tipped over at an angle, trapping multiple people inside. A handful of employees race out of frame as merchandise is shaken off the shelves and onto the ground. Today's quake occurred on the second anniversary of another that killed 117 two years ago.

This is the second earthqake in the area withing several days, with the previous one, nearly the same strong 6.1 magnitude, shaking the east coast 17 km (10 miles) northeast of Hua-lien.

Hualien is one of Taiwan's most popular tourist hubs as it lies on the picturesque east coast rail line and is near to popular Taroko Gorge.

This is a developing story.

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