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Strong earthquake hits east Taiwan

The quake shook buildings in the capital Taipei, about 70 miles away from the epicentre.

Railway workers inspect damaged facilities near Hualien (Taiwan Railways Administrations/AP)
Railway workers inspect damaged facilities near Hualien (Taiwan Railways Administrations/AP)

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake has struck Taiwan’s east coast, according to the island’s Central Weather Bureau.

TV footage showed at least one landslide but there were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries.

The bureau said the quake happened at 1.01pm local time, with its epicentre about six miles north west of the eastern coastal city of Hualien.

The depth was around six miles, according to the United States Geological Survey, while Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau put it at almost 12 miles, a distance that would lessen the likelihood of damage.

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Damage to a building in Taipei (Johnson Lai/AP)

The quake shook buildings in the capital Taipei, which is about 70 miles away.

One multi-storey building was reported to be leaning against its neighbour, the city’s subway system suspended service, and schools along the east coast were evacuated.

Two hikers in the famed Toroko Gorge national park were injured by falling rocks, the Hualien government reported. Water pipes at the city’s train station burst and rail traffic was briefly suspended.

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An injured tourist in Taroko National Park (Taroko National Park/AP)

Taiwan’s premier Su Tseng-chang said schools, work sites, water, power and transit lines had been checked for damage and injured people, partly with the aid of drones.

While no major problems were found, cracked road surfaces on the east coast could become a problem if rain were to fall in coming hours, Mr Su said.

People in Chinese cities close to the Taiwan Strait dividing the island from mainland China also reported feeling the quake.

Footage shown by Taiwanese television stations showed overturned furniture in homes and offices and at least one landslide along the mountainous and lightly populated east coast.

Taiwan is on the string of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean known as the Ring of Fire and is frequently rocked by tremors, including a 1999 quake that killed more than 2,300 people.

An earthquake in February 2018 in Hualien killed 17 people when four buildings partially collapsed.

That quake hit two years to the day after an apartment building in the south-western city of Tainan collapsed in an earthquake, killing 115 people.

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