Two people were killed and nearly 150 people were injured after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday near the coast of Taiwan, leaving several people trapped under the rubble in toppled buildings, according to local reports and postings on social media.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted Tuesday: “Major 6.4 earthquake in #Hualien. Armed forces & government agencies are responding. Relief measures are underway. Stay safe”
Major 6.4 earthquake in #Hualien. Armed forces & government agencies are responding. Relief measures are underway. Stay safe
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) February 6, 2018
Taiwan’s premier said at least 144 people were injured after the earthquake hit the east coast of Taiwan, about 14 miles east-northeast of Hualian. The quake was reported around 11:50 p.m. local time, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Preliminary information stated the quake was about six miles deep.
Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes, with the quake on Tuesday the latest in a string to have hit the region in recent days.
Photographs posted on social media showed the Marshal Hotel in Hualien appearing to lean sharply to one side.
Media reports said there were 30 people trapped inside with others crawling to safety. The fire agency said a second hotel had also been damaged, with television images showing roads strewn with rubble and cracks in highways.
On Sunday, another five shallow tremors struck within two hours of each other in the same area off Taiwan’s east coast.
The island’s worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed about 2,400 people.
Another 5.1 magnitude tremor was felt shortly after.
Dramatic photos of damage after the quake showed Marshal Hotel in Hualien partially collapsed, according to the Taiwan Observer. Rescue teams are responding to the area and people are believed to be trapped in the hotel.
— 凱 = ガイ（KAI） (@1974kai) February 6, 2018
Another building called the Beautiful Life Hotel is also tilting. Several roads were extensively damaged.
A series of earthquakes have struck off the coast of Taiwan in recent days. A magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck in the area two days ago and another quake, measuring 5.3, hit the same area later that day, Reuters reported.
Tuesday’s earthquake also comes two years after another 6.4 magnitude quake struck southern Taiwan, killing 116 people.
Taiwan lies along the famed “Pacific Rim of Fire” known for seismic activity from Alaska to Southeast Asia.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
February 6th, 2018