Taiwan earthquake disrupts trains in mainland China at start of Ching Ming travel rush

Taiwan earthquake disrupts trains in mainland China at start of Ching Ming travel rush
Taiwan earthquake disrupts trains in mainland China at start of Ching Ming travel rush

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the east coast of Taiwan at 7.58am local time, causing buildings to collapse and killing at least nine. There are 934 people reported to be injured, while efforts are continuing to rescue 56 trapped in the wreckage.

While Taiwan’s eastern Hualien county suffered the brunt of the quake, its effects were felt across the island.

According to the China Earthquake Networks Center, the quake was monitored at a depth of about 12km (7.46 miles), with its epicenter in the waters south of Hualien.

The Ministry of Natural Resources’ tsunami warning center issued a level 1 red alert – the highest of four levels – after the earthquake struck, which it lifted before noon.

Tremors were felt in cities in Fujian – the mainland coastal province facing Taiwan – and other metropolitan areas, including Shanghai, Suzhou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shantou.

Among the affected rail services were some linking Fujian to its neighboring province Guangdong. Other trains operating within Fujian, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces were also suspended while tracks were inspected.

The delays left Fujian passengers stranded at stations in the provincial capital Fuzhou, as well as the cities of Quanzhou and Xiamen, according to media reports.

Passengers told state news agency Xinhua that they were evacuated from trains that stopped soon after they started to leave the station, and were waiting for operations to resume.

Rail passengers in Fuzhou, provincial capital of Fujian province in southeast China, had their journeys disrupted after tremors from Wednesday’s earthquake in Taiwan affected parts of the mainland. Photo: Handout

Media outlets reported that two stations in Fuzhou had suspended at least 28 service on Wednesday morning. The railway operator also announced delays of several services passing through the city.

A dozen high-speed rail services were suspended in Shanghai on Wednesday morning, including trains to Xiamen and Ningbo in neighboring Zhejiang province, and Kunming, provincial capital of Yunnan in southwestern China.

The disrupted services could have a major impact, with a five-day travel rush expected for the Ching Ming Festival – also known as tomb-sweeping day – which starts on Wednesday.

The national rail operator forecast that 75 million trips will be made during the travel period, with an average of 15 million journeys each day.

The operator of services in the Yangtze River Delta region – which covers Shanghai and the three neighboring provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui – was expecting to handle 3.15 million trips on Wednesday.

In Fuzhou, one station said it was expecting an average of 104,000 journeys for each day of the travel rush.

The article is in Dutch

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