At Least 2 Dead in Magnitude 6.4 Quake in Taiwan

Violet Powell
February 8, 2018

The shifting of the buildings after the magnitude 6.4 quake late Tuesday night was likely caused by soil liquefaction, when the ground beneath a building loses its solidity under stress such as that caused by an natural disaster.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the latest quake was 21 km northeast of the city at a depth of 11 km.

Most of the missing were trapped in a large building with both businesses and apartments in downtown Hualien.

Tenants and their furniture were flung across their apartments in the damaged building.

The tremor caused a 12-story structure and 2 residential complexes some 500 meters away to collapse.

Residents of Guangdong and Fujian experienced tremors last night from a magnitude 6.4 quake that shook Taiwan at around 11.50pm (CST) yesterday, according to a WeChat post by the Shenzhen Evening News.

A Red Cross worker at the scene estimated that the building had tilted another five percent overnight, adding he had little hope of finding survivors on its lowest floors.

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Hualien is a popular tourist destination on Taiwan's eastern coast and home to about 100,000 people.

Immediately after the natural disaster hit, Tsai said she instructed the Ministry of National Defense and other agencies to deploy the resources necessary for the rescue mission.

"Two people were unfortunately killed, and 114 have suffered light or severe injuries", Taiwan's Premier William Lai told an emergency government meeting. "We will not rest until all are found", Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on her official Twitter account.

About 40,000 homes are without water, and highways and bridges have been are closed.

With aftershocks continuing to hit after the quake, residents were directed to shelters, including a newly built baseball stadium, where beds and hot food were provided. In a post on her official Facebook page, Tsai said she arrived in Hualien Wednesday to review rescue efforts.

Taiwan sits near a junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

Lai made the announcement while presiding over an ad hoc meeting at the Central Emergency Operation Center in New Taipei City, which is coordinating rescue efforts and assessing damage in the aftermath of the magnitude 6.0 quake.

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