Taiwan earthquake: Series of powerful aftershocks hit Hualien
continue to rattle Taiwan after
a strong earthquake that killed
at least four people and injured
more than 200 others.
The powerful 6.4-magnitude tremor struck at 23:50
(15:50 GMT) about 20km (12 miles) off the island's east coast.
Multiple buildings across the city of Hualien have
been badly damaged. More than 140 people still remain unaccounted for
from one building.
Hualien, a popular tourist hub, is home to about
Residents in the city of Hualien have been told to
stay away from their damaged homes, and about 800 have taken shelter in
community buildings because of the aftershocks.
Images from the city showed tilted structures,
scattered debris and extensive damage to roads in the area.
The Yunman Cuidi building, which has residential and
commercial floors, is tilting to one side after sustaining major damage.
About 143 of its residents remain unaccounted for, local media said.
Rescuers on Wednesday morning were still working to
reach at least five other people who are thought to be trapped in
buildings including two people believed to be stuck inside the Marshal
Several high-rise buildings sustained severe damage, with this one tilting heavily
The lower floors of the Marshal Hotel have collapsed, with two people thought to be trapped inside
Among the several badly damaged buildings was a
hospital, local media said.
"We were still open when [the earthquake] happened,"
Lin Ching-wen, who operates a restaurant near the hospital told newswire
"I grabbed my wife and children and we ran out and
tried to rescue people."
Emergency responders, including soldiers, worked
through the night, rescuing about 150 people from damaged buildings, but
powerful aftershocks have disrupted rescue efforts.
Earthquakes are not uncommon for residents in Hualien
but the 6.4-magnitude quake, one of the strongest in recent years, came
as a shock.
According to witnesses, residents were running out of
buildings crying and screaming when the earthquake shook the city.
"It is the first time in my life [where I felt like] I
wanted to hide under a bed," said 32-year-old Ms Chieh. "Later, my
entire family and all my neighbours ran out onto the street."
She added that she felt very scared and found it
"unbelievable" that the hotel building near her home was so seriously
About 40,000 homes are without water, and highways and
bridges have been closed.
Offices and schools in the city will remain closed on
President Tsai Ing-wen was at the scene of the quake
on Wednesday morning, where she visited hospitals and relief centres.
In a Facebook statement, Ms Tsai said that the
government would help Hualien to the best of their abilities, adding
that she hoped "people's lives would return to normal as soon as
People reported feeling the quake in the island's
capital, Taipei, more than 160km (100 miles) away
The earthquake has damaged roads and buildings across Hualien
The earthquake comes exactly two years after a
previous quake in the Taiwanese city of Tainan that killed at least 116
Taiwan has been rocked by more than 100 earthquakes so
far this month, according to the government. The island sits near a
junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.
Taiwan has for all practical purposes been independent
since 1950, but China regards it as a rebel region that must be reunited
with the mainland.
Courtesy : BBC News
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