Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Taiwan Experiencing "High Seismic Activity": 6.4, 5.1, 5.3, 5.4 Quakes, Causing Hotel To Collapse And Damaging Roads, Bridges

Taiwan is currently experiencing high seismic activity. On February 4, 2018, a M6.1 earthquake hit the island, causing 80 aftershocks, which resulted in another powerful and shallow M6.4 earthquake Tuesday afternoon, January 6, 2018 in Hualien, causing a hotel to collapse. This is the second dangerous quake to hit Taiwan within 48 hours. A series of aftershocks is currently shaking the same area, with M5.1M5.2 , M5.3M5.4 earthquakes rumbling a few hours later. The earthquake partially or completely destroyed several buildings, damaged bridges, roads and sidewalks. It is unknown when the seismic unrest will stop. There has been no confirmation of casualties so far and no tsunami warnings have been issued.

The M6.4 earthquake hit the Taiwanese city of Hualien on February 6 at around 23.50 local time. The epicenter of the quake was reportedly just 10 km deep, some 22km east-northeast of Hualien.

A hotel in Hualien – the Marshal Hotel – has collapsed following the earthquake. At least 17 people were blocked inside. Online pictures show the first floor of the hotel severely damaged, with parts of the building crumbling onto the sidewalk. Terrified guests began to run out into the street screaming out loud. Rescue teams have been deployed to the scene.

Quake damages buildings, roads in Taiwan, causing 2 deaths

A strong earthquake damaged buildings and buckled roads near Taiwan's eastern coast, killing two people and injuring more than 200.
A hotel employee died in Hualien county when the ground floor caved in at the Marshal Hotel, and another person died in a residential building, the national fire and rescue service reported.
A maintenance worker who was rescued after being trapped in the hotel's basement said the force of the earthquake was unusual.
"At first it wasn't that big ... we get this sort of thing all the time and it's really nothing. But then it got really terrifying," Chen Minghui said after he was reunited with his son and grandson. "It was really scary."
Other buildings shifted on their foundations due to the magnitude-6.4 quake late Tuesday and rescuers used ladders, ropes and cranes to get residents to safety.
Taiwanese media reported that a separate hotel known as the Beautiful Life Hotel was tilting. The agency also posted photos showing a road fractured in several parts.
Bridges and some highways were closed pending inspections after buckling due to the force of the quake.
With aftershocks continuing through the night, residents were being directed to shelters, including a newly built baseball stadium, where beds and hot food were provided.
Speaking from a crisis center in Taipei, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung said rail links appeared to be unaffected and the runway of Hualien airport was intact.
"We're putting a priority on Hualien people being able to return home to check on their loved ones," Hsu said.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-6.4 quake struck just before midnight Tuesday about 21 kilometers (13 miles) northeast of Hualien at a relatively shallow depth of about 10.6 kilometers (6.6 miles).
Taiwan has frequent earthquakes due to its position along the "Ring of Fire," the seismic faults encircling the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes occur.
Exactly two years earlier, a magnitude-6.4 quake collapsed an apartment complex in southern Taiwan, causing the deaths of 115 people. Five people involved in the construction of the complex were later found guilty of negligence and given prison sentences.
A magnitude-7.6 quake in central Taiwan killed more than 2,300 people in 1999.

At least two people are dead and 202 injured -- including tourists -- after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck just off the east coast of Taiwan late Tuesday, local police said.
The quake was centered in the East China Sea about 21 kilometers north-northeast of Hualien City. Light shaking was felt in the capital of Taipei, about 120 kilometers north of Hualien City, according to reports sent to the US Geological Survey.
Three buildings have collapsed, including the Marshal Hotel in Hualien City. Jeff Lin with the Hualien Police Department described the other two structures as "city department buildings."
About 400 rescue workers scrambled to locate people, and a crane was brought in to help, footage from CNN affiliate SET TV showed. One building apparently had collapsed onto what once was the ground floor.
The injured are mainly from the Marshal Hotel, and a few of the injured were in the city buildings. One hotel employee was rescued from the basement and three others remain missing, officials said.
At least 50 Japanese tourists were among the injured, a Hualien City police dispatcher said.
Officials had no numbers for missing people.
In addition, two bridges in the area were damaged and have been closed, Lin said.
A 5.4 aftershock hit near Hualien City shortly after the larger earthquake, according to the USGS. There have been several other strong quakes in the area in the last few days.
Cellphone video from Hualien City shows a large building leaning at a dangerous angle as sirens are heard in the background. The video shows people gathering near the building and shining flashlights on windows.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet that armed forces and government agencies are responding.
"Relief measures are underway," Tsai tweeted. "Stay safe."
Flights to the Hualien area have been canceled, Hsu Kuo-Yung, the spokesperson for the Taiwanese government, said in a news conference shown on SET TV. 
Hsu Kuo-Yung said the railway department hasn't given a full status report of the damage yet but he said it seems the railways have not been damaged much. Some roads have been damaged.

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