Earthquake Hits Taiwan, Crumbles Multiple Buildings


Rescue efforts continued in Taiwan Wednesday morning (Feb. 7) after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake shook the city of Hualien just before midnight local time on Tuesday.

Reports say that at least six tall buildings were left tilted—some as drastic as 45 degrees—and as of Wednesday morning at least seven people have died with more than 200 injured and countless missing, some in those partially collapsed buildings.


President Tsai Ing-wen has reportedly launched an emergency recovery operation, announcing in a statement: "The president has asked the cabinet and related ministries to immediately launch the 'disaster mechanism' and to work at the fastest rate on disaster relief work.”

In addition to the first priority of search and rescue, other emergency responses included how to deal with the large buildings that are now precariously leaning.

One building, the Yun Men Tsui Ti residential tower, is now being propped up by four mobile cranes brought in on the backs of trucks. At least the bottom four floors of that 12-story building were “pancaked” and at least 20 people have been rescued. Officials say more than 100 residents are still missing just from that complex.

One resident—Chen Chih-wei, 80—was quoted, saying he was sleeping when the earthquake hit.

"My bed turned completely vertical, I was sleeping and suddenly I was standing," he said.

Liu Yan-hu, from the Hualien County Architects Association, went on record to say that, despite the lean, the building’s main structure appears to be intact.

However, five more buildings, including a hospital and hotel, are in a similar predicament and rescue efforts are ongoing—more than 100 people have been rescued so far.

A series of aftershocks extended the crisis, and the damage has left 830 people in shelters and thousands of homes without power or water. The tremors also closed two bridges, including the Qixingtian Bridge, and sections of multiple highways have been closed off because of resulting landslides.

Other Quakes

Tuesday’s quake follows a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck on Sunday. That quake set off a string of 94 earthquakes in the past three days, according to the Taiwan News. Because Tuesday’s tremor was the biggest, officials now believe it was “the main quake.”

This earthquake comes precisely two years after a 6.4-magnitude quake hit the southern part of the country, collapsing a hotel and killing 115 people. Five people involved in the construction of that hotel were later found guilty of negligence.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Disasters; Health and safety; Maintenance + Renovation; Safety

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