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Magnitude 6.7 quake hits Taiwan
Published on: 2010-03-04
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BEIJING - A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan at 8:18 am Beijing Time on 3 March, according to China's national seismological network.
Twelve people were injured, according to the local fire agency. No tsunami alert was issued.
The epicenter, at a depth of about 6.0 km, was 22.9 degrees latitude north and 120.6 degrees longitude, in the same mountainous region of rural Kaohsiung county that endured the brunt of the damage from Typhoon Morakot, a devastating storm that killed about 700 people last August.
Taiwan media reported cave-ins, landslides, cracks in school buildings and power cuts. Many travelers were temporarily stranded at stations due to temporary closing of high-speed railways.
Rail service in southern and central Taiwan was suspended, as was the state-of-the-art subway system in Kaohsiung city, Taiwan's second largest with a population of 1.5 million. Kaohsiung is about 250 miles (400 kilometers) south of Taipei.
Taiwanese actor Chu Chung-heng said he and other passengers were close to panic when the high-speed train on which they were traveling was dislodged from its track by the quake.
"Many people in my car were screaming," he said. "I was so scared that I couldn't make a sound. The train shook very hard and I thought it was going to overturn."
In nearby Liugui an unidentified high school student described the quake as terrifying. "Everyone was running out of the classroom, and some people fell in the rush," she told ETTV.
CTI said one person was slightly injured by falling debris in Kaohsiung, and a woman was hospitalized after a wall collapsed on her scooter in the southern city of Chiayi. Also in Chiayi, one person was hurt by a falling tree, government-owned Central News Agency said.
Local media in Taiwan said troops were dispatched to Jiashian to report on the extent of the damage.
A spokesman for Taiwan's leader Ma Ying-jeou said authorities had been instructed to follow the quake situation closely and take steps to mitigate damage and dislocation. Ma was widely criticized for his government's slow response to last year's typhoon.
The presidential office said he planned to visit Tainan on Thursday afternoon.
Earthquakes occur frequently in Taiwan, which lies on a seismically active stretch of the Pacific basin.
One of Taiwan's worst-recorded quakes occurred in September 1999. Measuring 7.6, it killed more than 2,400 people and destroyed or damaged 50,000 buildings.
In 2006 a 6.7-magnitude quake south of Kaohsiung severed undersea cables and disrupted telephone and Internet service for millions throughout Asia.
Tremors felt in the mainland
Local residents in Xiamen, Quanzhou and Zhangzhou of Fujian Province also said they felt an intense tremor when the quake hit.
A man who identified himself as Lin in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province, said he was on the seventh floor when he felt a tremor. He said computer panels shook furiously for a brief moment.
An expert with Fujian Provincial Seismological Bureau contacted by Xinhua said that the earthquake had not caused any major damage in the province.
Backgrounder: Chronology of major strong quakes worldwide since 1900
An earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale hit southern Chile on Feb 27, killing more than 800 and triggering tsunamis as well as communications and power breakup.
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