Deadly Earthquake Strikes Hualien, Taiwan: Nine Killed and Dozens Trapped

Hualien, Taiwan—A powerful earthquake, described as the strongest in a quarter-century, rattled Taiwan during the morning rush hour on Wednesday, claiming the lives of nine people and leaving dozens trapped in quarries. The quake, which also caused injuries to hundreds, struck off the coast of rural, mountainous Hualien County, resulting in significant damage to buildings and triggering a brief tsunami warning that was later lifted.

In Hualien County, some structures were left leaning at severe angles, with their ground floors crushed under the force of the tremors. Meanwhile, in the capital city of Taipei, located just over 150 kilometers away, older buildings saw tiles falling off, prompting schools to evacuate students to open sports fields, providing them with yellow safety helmets for protection. Many residents, including children, found themselves seeking refuge from falling debris and aftershocks.

Despite Taiwan’s regular experience with earthquakes and its population’s high level of preparedness, authorities admitted that they had anticipated a milder quake and thus did not issue alerts. The intensity of the tremor took even seasoned residents by surprise, with many expressing fear and shock at the unprecedented shaking.

The aftermath of the quake saw scenes of rescue efforts underway, with neighbors and emergency responders assisting residents, including a toddler, trapped in damaged buildings. However, the toll of the disaster was grim, with nine reported fatalities and over 900 people injured. Furthermore, authorities lost contact with 50 individuals in minibuses in Taroko National Park, where phone networks were disrupted by the quake.

As rescue operations continue and the extent of the damage becomes clearer, Taiwan faces the daunting task of rebuilding and supporting affected communities in the wake of this devastating natural disaster.

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