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Strong earthquake causes injuries, damage in Taiwan

2019/04/18 17:41:58

Taipei, April 18 (CNA) A strong earthquake shook Taiwan at 1:01 p.m. Thursday, causing several injuries, damaging buildings and disrupting public transportation.

The magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit Hualien County in eastern Taiwan, with an intensity level of 7 -- the highest on Taiwan's intensity scale -- felt in Hualien, 5 in New Taipei and 4 in Taipei.

During the powerful earthquake, two tourists, one of them a Malaysian man, were injured by falling rocks on a mountaineering trail within Taroko National Park.

The severely injured Malaysian man, aged 40, had no vital signs when he was rushed to a hospital in Hualien, but doctors successfully resuscitated him, while the other victim, a 54-year-old Taiwanese woman, suffered a head injury and was also sent to the hospital.

(Photo courtesy of the Hualien fire department)

In New Taipei, six cases of people trapped in elevators were reported as of 1:50 p.m., all of whom were rescued, according to the city government fire department.

In addition, three people in the city were injured by falling objects and hospitalized, where they were reported to be in stable condition, according to the department.

In Taipei, seven injuries and 22 quake-related incidents related to the earthquake had been reported as of 2:30 p.m., including seven involving falling objects and six involving water supply disruption.

A building on Chang An East Road was found to have tilted, leading to the evacuation of more than 30 people to a nearby park.

During a later inspection tour of the building, Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said, citing experts, that the building posed no immediate danger to the occupiers.

Another building in the city's Xinyi District was also found to have tilted, also posed no danger, according to the city government.

Operations on all lines of the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system were suspended for 90 minutes in the wake of the earthquake.

(People waiting to exit from an MRT station)

The Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. (TRTC) said it adopted measures such as slowing down the trains or suspending their operation to allow passengers to exit the carriages at the nearest station in accordance with its standard operating procedure for earthquake response.

It also dispatched personnel to examine the system's equipment to ensure safety before resuming operations at 2:30 p.m.

The MRT service between Taipei and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport was also suspended for safety inspections and was resumed at 1:45 p.m.

The High Speed Railway service, which was partially suspended, was resumed at 2:26 p.m.

In addition, the temblor also knocked out power to some areas of Taipei's Zhongzheng District, said state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower).

However, the three nuclear power plants and other hydro and coal-fired power plants operating around the country remained functional after the earthquake, according to Taipower.

(Photo courtesy of the TRA)

The operations of Taiwan's three science-based industrial parks -- the Hsinchu Science Park in northern Taiwan, the Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung, and the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan -- were also unaffected.

Shortly after the earthquake, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) directed the establishment of the Central Disaster Response Center, according to Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka.

(By Jackson Chang, Yeh Chen, Wang Shu-fen, Tyson Lu and Evelyn Kao)
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