Taiwan Trembles at the Onslaught of an Earthquake

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  • A 6.9-magnitude quake rocked the south-eastern coast of Taiwan on Sunday evening. 
  • Most of the damage appeared to be north of the epicenter in the town of Chishang, in northern Taitung county. 
  • Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, urged people to be vigilant for further aftershocks but said the government was in control of the situation.

At least one person has died after a strong earthquake shook much of Taiwan, toppling a three-storey building and temporarily trapping four people inside, leaving about 400 tourists stranded on a mountain. Taiwanese state media, the Central News Agency, said a man with the surname Huang died at a factory in Hualien when a piece of machinery fell on him.

Destruction in the wake of trembles

A three-storey building, which had a 7-Eleven convenience store on the ground floor and residences on the upper ones, collapsed in the nearby town of Yuli in Hualien, CNA said. The top two storeys of the building were left strewn across a small street, with electricity wires pulled down by the fallen structure. More than 7,000 households were reported to be without power in Yuli and water pipes were damaged. Police and firefighters rushed to a bridge collapse on a two-lane road in what appeared to be a rural area of the town, where three people and one or more vehicles may have fallen off. 

Also in Yuli, a landslide trapped nearly 400 tourists on a mountain known for the orange day lilies that blanket its slopes at this time of year, the CNA said. Debris from a falling canopy on a platform at Dongli railway station in Fuli – between Yuli and the epicenter at Chishang  hit a passing train, derailing six cars, state media reported.

A land of quakes

Earthquakes are common in Taiwan, due to its proximity to the edges of the Eurasian and Philippine tectonic plates. The most disastrous quake in recent history occurred in 1999, when more than 2,400 people were killed  and 11,000 injured by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Nantou county. The US Geological Survey initially gave a higher reading of Sunday’s earthquake than local authorities, initially measuring it at 7.2-magnitude before downgrading it to 6.9. The President Tsai Ing-wen has cautioned the people against possible future aftershocks. 

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Source : TheGuardian

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