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Strong earthquake hits southeastern Taiwan, building collapses

Firefighters work at the scene where a building collapsed after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake, in Yuli, Hualien county, Taiwan September 18, 2022.

Taiwan’s 0918 Earthquake Center Emergency Operations Center | Via Reuters

The island’s weather agency said a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan’s sparsely populated southeastern region on Sunday, derailed train carriages and caused a convenience store to close. collapsed and hundreds of people on the mountain road were trapped.

The weather agency said the epicenter was in Taitung county and was followed by a 6.4-magnitude storm Saturday night in the same area, causing no casualties.

The United States Geological Survey measured Sunday’s quake at magnitude 7.2 and at a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles).

Taiwan’s fire agency said all four people were rescued from a collapsed convenience store building in Yuli, while three people who fell off a damaged bridge were rescued and taken to hospital.

The Taiwan Railways Authority said six carriages had come off the tracks at Dongli station in eastern Taiwan after part of the platform’s arch collapsed, but the fire department said no one was injured.

More than 600 people are trapped in the scenic Chike and Liushishi mountain areas due to road closures, although no one has been injured and rescuers are working to reopen roads, the ministry said. .

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for Taiwan after the tremor but later lifted it. Japan’s weather agency lifted a tsunami warning for parts of Okinawa Prefecture.

The weather bureau said the quake could be felt across Taiwan. Buildings briefly shook in the capital Taipei, and aftershocks continued to upset the island.

Science parks in the southern cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung, home to large semiconductor factories, said there was no impact on operations.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said “no significant impact is known to date”.

Taiwan is located near the junction of two tectonic plates and is prone to earthquakes.

More than 100 people were killed in an earthquake in southern Taiwan in 2016, while a 7.3 magnitude earthquake killed more than 2,000 people in 1999.

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