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9 dead, over 1,000 injured in 7.3-magnitude quake in China’s Taiwan

TAIPEI/BEIJING | Xinhua | The 7.3-magnitude quake in China’s Taiwan on Wednesday morning had left nine people dead and 1,011 people injured as of 10 p.m., according to the local emergency operation center.

Meanwhile, more than 100 people were trapped following the earthquake that hit the sea area near Hualien County, Taiwan, data from the center showed.

Due to the earthquake, a residential building and another nearly 40-year-old building in Hualien have tilted severely.

According to an official from Taiwan transportation authorities, the railway linking Yilan County and Hualien has been severely disrupted, with multiple collapses and falling rocks reported.

Ongoing aftershocks in Hualien have hindered repair personnel from accessing affected areas, the official said.

The official stated that the current priority is to restore the Taiwan railway service, saying dual-track travel on the rail line section connecting Yilan and Hualien is expected to be restored by Thursday noon.

The earthquake was strongly felt in many parts of Taiwan. In Taipei, the earthquake caused damage to some school buildings. According to statistics from the Taipei education authorities, as of Wednesday noon, 201 schools and kindergartens reported that they had sustained damages, with six schools announcing class suspensions.

Taichung City, located near Hualien, also experienced severe shaking. The earthquake led to two incidents where falling rocks struck cars, resulting in 2 injuries. Additionally, the earthquake temporarily caused power outages for over 14,000 households in Taichung.

Taiwan’s meteorological agency called the earthquake the strongest one to hit the island in 25 years since a deadly quake struck on Sept. 21, 1999.

A spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said that the mainland is highly concerned about the situation and extends sincere sympathy to the Taiwan compatriots affected by the disaster.

The mainland is ready to provide disaster relief assistance, said spokesperson Zhu Fenglian.

The quake struck at 7:58 a.m. Wednesday (Beijing Time) and the epicenter was monitored at 23.81 degrees north latitude and 121.74 degrees east longitude, at a depth of 12 km, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

Following the earthquake, the Ministry of Natural Resources warning center issued tsunami alerts, which have been lifted as of press time.

The quake triggered a local tsunami near the epicenter, causing a disastrous impact on parts of Taiwan’s coastal areas, the warning center said, adding that the tsunami disaster process had basically ended.

According to Taiwan’s meteorological agency, the epicenter of the earthquake was located 25 km south-southeast of Hualien. The maximum intensity recorded was 6 magnitude in Hualien County.

Local authorities have announced the suspension of work and school classes in Hualien.

Multiple residential buildings partially collapsed in Hualien, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents. Falling rocks were also reported in hilly areas.

A rubber factory building in New Taipei City collapsed due to the quake.

Subways in multiple counties and cities on the island have been temporarily suspended. In Taipei, intense shaking lasting at least one minute led to the suspension of metro operations for 40 to 60 minutes.

As of 10:37 p.m., 216 aftershocks had been recorded in Hualien and nearby areas, according to Taiwan’s meteorological agency.

The agency also predicted earthquakes measuring magnitude 7 might happen in the next three days.

Across the Taiwan Strait, tremors were also felt in Fujian, Guangdong, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu on the Chinese mainland.

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