Deaths and hundreds injured after a major earthquake off the coast of Taiwan

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NOS Newstoday, 03:14Amended today, 12:23

At least nine people were killed in a major earthquake in eastern Taiwan last night. More than 820 injured people have been counted and there is no contact with fifty people in a nature reserve.

There are also still seventy people trapped in buildings and a coal mine, among other places. The authorities assume that they are still alive. The quake struck shortly before 8 a.m. local time and had a magnitude of 7.2, making it the strongest in Taiwan in almost 25 years.

The epicenter was in the sea, about 25 kilometers from the coastal town of Hualien. More than a hundred aftershocks were registered in the first hours after the quake.

NOS

The fifty people who are missing are staff members of a hotel in a national park near Hualien. They were traveling in four minivans. The authorities have not yet been able to contact them because telephone networks are down.

At least three fatalities occurred in the national park. They were said to have been hit by a rock avalanche in the mountainous area. In Hualien, sagging buildings partly hang over the street.

A truck driver also died after his vehicle was hit by a landslide. President Tsai Ing-wen has promised that the army will be deployed in the rescue work.

Major earthquake hits Taiwan

The earthquake also caused damage in the capital Taipei, more than 100 kilometers further north. Facade cladding, among other things, ended up on the street. Items also fell over in many homes.

Offices and school buildings were evacuated and train traffic on the island was stopped. Hundreds of thousands of households were without power for several hours.

Small waves

After the quake, the Philippines and Japan issued tsunami warnings, but only small waves were generated. The quake was also felt along China’s southeastern coast, such as in the port city of Shanghai.

China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province, was quick to offer aid to the island, but Taiwan has said it will not take advantage of it. Japan and Paraguay have also pledged assistance.

Taiwan regularly experiences earthquakes, but a quake of this magnitude does not occur often. According to the Taiwan Geological Survey, the quake had a magnitude of 7.2; American measurements indicate a force of 7.4.

In September 1999, Taiwan was hit by a magnitude 7.6 earthquake. 2,400 people were killed and thousands of buildings were destroyed.

Reuters
Rock avalanche in eastern Taiwan

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Deaths hundreds injured major earthquake coast Taiwan

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