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Several buildings collapse after magnitude 6.4 earthquake strikes Taiwan

7 February 2018 6:44 AM
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A powerful earthquake struck Taiwan just before midnight Tuesday, damaging buildings in the city of Hualien, killing four people and leaving another 145 missing, according to the authorities.

The 6.4-magnitude quake was recorded at 11:50 pm and was centred about 23 kilometres north-east of Hualien, a city of 110,000 on Taiwan's east coast, the US Geological Survey reported.

At least 225 people were injured, according to the Hualien County disaster response centre. The National Fire Agency said 149 people had been pulled from the rubble. It said that 40,000 people were without water, and 645 without electricity.

Most of the missing were believed to be trapped in a damaged building in downtown Hualien, the county disaster response centre said.

"Armed forces & government agencies are responding," Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, wrote on Twitter. "Relief measures are underway. Stay safe."

Taiwan's government said that at least four buildings had partly collapsed or were left leaning at dangerous angles.

The bottom floors of the Marshal Hotel collapsed and two people were missing in that building, the county government said.

Hualien is near the entrance to Taroko National Park, one of Taiwan's most famous scenic areas, where the Taroko Gorge cuts through mountains that rise steeply from the coast. The region is less populated than Taiwan's west coast.

Taiwan is prone to earthquakes and has had a few in recent days, including magnitude 5.3 and 6.1 quakes on Sunday. No one was killed in those quakes.

Tuesday was the second anniversary of a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck north-east of Pingtung City in southern Taiwan, killing 117 people.

Source: theage.com.au

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