World

Strong earthquake shakes Taiwan

September 19, 2022
Firefighters rescue a person at the site where a building collapsed following a 6.8-magnitude earthquake, in Yuli, Hualien county, Taiwan.
Firefighters rescue a person at the site where a building collapsed following a 6.8-magnitude earthquake, in Yuli, Hualien county, Taiwan.

TAIPEI — A strong earthquake shook much of Taiwan on Sunday, toppling a three-story building and temporarily trapping four people inside, stranding about 400 tourists on a mountainside, and knocking part of a passenger train off its tracks, the Associated Press reported.

One person died and nine people had minor injuries, Taiwan's Emergency Operations Center said.

Japan's Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for Miyako island in the East China Sea, but the agency later removed the warning. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) had also warned of tsunami waves along nearby coastlines.

The magnitude 6.8 quake was the largest among dozens that have rattled the island's southeastern coast since Saturday evening, when a 6.4 quake struck the same area.

The USGS initially registered it at 7.2, before downgrading it to 6.9.

Photos showed collapsed buildings in southern Taiwan following the powerful earthquake.

Most of the damage appeared to be north of the epicenter, which Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said was in the town of Chishang at the relatively shallow depth of 7 kilometers (4 miles).

In nearby Yuli town, a cement factory worker died and the three-story building, which had a 7-11 convenience store on the ground floor and residences above it, collapsed, the island's Central News Agency said.

More than 7,000 households were reported without power in Yuli, and water pipes were also damaged. Shelves and musical instruments fell over at the Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church and a long crack ran down its floor. Outside, the pavement was broken into slabs of concrete.

About 20 passengers were evacuated after a train derailed in the area, but there were no casualties from the incident, the Taiwan Railway Administration said.

Kolas Yotaka, a former presidential spokeswoman who is running for local elections in Hualien county, said that damages were also reported at a local school.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen activated the island's Central Emergency Operation Center following the quake. Taiwanese residents have been asked to stay alert to avoid potential aftershocks, Tsai said in a recorded statement.

About 110 soldiers have also been deployed in Hualien county, along the island's eastern coast, to assist with disaster relief efforts, Taiwan's defense ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang said. — Agencies


September 19, 2022
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