The island of Taiwan was struck by a powerful earthquake just this Tuesday, measuring 6.4 in magnitude. Ensuing tremors caused significant property damage in a number of broken-up roads and collapsed buildings, resulting in over 100 wounded and at least 2 deaths.
USA Today reports that the epicenter of the quake was determined by the US Geological Survey as being on a point six miles into the earth, and 13 miles north-northeast from the city of Hualien on its east coast, population over 100,000. The severity of the damaged roads and toppled multistory structures was made clear by photos and videos uploaded by Taiwanese on social media.
President Tsai Ing-wen assured the populace with a post on Twitter, announcing that relief measures have been put into effect, with military and government agencies having been placed on full response alert. She ended her tweet with the admonition for her constituents to “Stay safe”.
A report from the Taiwanese CTI-TV stated that at least five buildings in Hualien have calamitously tumbled due to the quake. In particular, the high-rise Marshal Hotel saw the bottom three of its total 11 floors collapsed. The state-owned Central News Agency (CNA) added that the city’s firefighters evacuated some 116 people from the structure.
Taiwan News also reported on the situation with the similarly damaged Hualien Shangxiao Road Community Apartment. Its ground and second floors were completely flattened while the rest of the building, which housed no less than 80 households, found itself tilted at a 45° angle. A number of vital highways connecting the city to the outside world were also cut by the tremors.
In a CNA interview, spokesman Chen Chung-chi of the Taiwan military said that the rescue efforts in Hualien are already bolstered with the assistance of an initial 88 military personnel. In addition, 250 more soldiers are expected to be deployed in the city over the following days.
While not included inside the Pacific Ring of Fire, the island of Taiwan is still prone to seismological disturbances, due to being on the boundary of the Philippine tectonic Plate and the Eurasian Plate. This temblor happened only two days after another strong tremor that hit the sea off the east coast, but was still felt across Taiwan according to the CNA.
Photo courtesy of kacu.org