Strong earthquake in southeastern Taiwan, buildings collapse – Reuters


© Reuters.

By Ben Blanchard and Li Yimou

TAIPEI (Reuters) – A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck sparsely populated southeastern Taiwan on Sunday, derailing a train carriage, collapsing a convenience store and trapping people on a mountain, the Taiwan Meteorological Bureau said.

The epicentre was in Taitung County, where a 6.4-magnitude quake struck the same area Saturday night, with no casualties, the meteorological bureau said.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured Sunday’s quake at a magnitude of 7.2 and a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).

Taiwanese firefighters said two people were trapped inside a collapsed convenience store building in Yuli, two were rescued, and three whose vehicles fell from damaged bridges were rescued and taken to hospitals.

Three trams rolled off the tracks after part of the platform canopy at Dongli Station in eastern Taiwan collapsed, the Taiwan Railway Administration said. One person was injured, firefighters said.

Although there were no injuries, about 68 people were also trapped in a blocked road in the scenic Chike Mountains, the department added.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued an alert to Taiwan after the quake, but it was later lifted. The Japan Meteorological Agency has lifted the tsunami warning for parts of Okinawa Prefecture.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the quake could be felt across Taiwan. Buildings in the capital Taipei shook briefly.

Technology parks in the southern cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung, where large semiconductor factories are located, said there was no impact on operations.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the world’s largest foundry chipmaker, said there were “no known significant impacts at this time.”

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

The 2016 earthquake in southern Taiwan killed more than 100 people, while the 7.3-magnitude quake in 1999 killed more than 2,000.

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