Earthquake in Taiwan causes heavy damage

Taipei, Taiwan –

A powerful earthquake shook much of Taiwan on Sunday, toppling a three-story building and temporarily trapping four people inside, trapping around 400 tourists on a mountainside and knocking a section of passenger train off the track.

The magnitude 6.8 quake was the largest of dozens to rock the island’s southeast coast since Saturday night, when a 6.4 magnitude quake struck same area. There were no immediate reports of serious injury.

Most of the damage appeared to be north of the epicenter, which Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said was in the town of Chishang at a relatively shallow depth of 7 kilometers (4 miles).

The three-story building, with a 7-11-story convenience store on the ground floor and residences on the upper floor, collapsed in the nearby town of Yuli, the island’s central news agency said.

The building’s 70-year-old owner and his wife were first rescued, but it took longer to get a 39-year-old woman and her 5-year-old daughter.

A photo released by the Hualien city government shows the girl lying on a blanket and being carried down a metal ladder by helmeted rescuers in orange uniforms from the top of the rubble. .

The top two floors of the building were sprawled on one side street and the other side, with power lines pulled down by the collapsed structure.

More than 7,000 households were reported without electricity in Yuli, and water pipes were also damaged.

According to media reports, police and firefighters rushed to a bridge collapse on a two-lane road in a rural area of ​​the same town, where three people and one or more vehicles could have fallen. .

Also in Yuli, a landslide left nearly 400 tourists stranded on a mountain known for its orange day lilies covering the slopes at this time of year, the Central News Agency said. They have no electricity and the cell phone signal is weak.

Debris from a tree canopy fell onto a platform at Dongli station in Fuli town, located between Yuli and the epicenter at Chishang, and collided with a passing train, derailing six carriages, the Central News Agency said. said, citing sources from the railway management agency. None of the 20 passengers were injured.

The shaking was felt at the northern end of the island in the capital Taipei. In the city of Taoyuan, west of Taipei and 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of the epicenter, a man was injured when a ceiling collapsed on the fifth floor of a sports center.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued tsunami advisories for several southern Japanese islands near Taiwan, but later lifted it.

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