A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck eastern Taiwan at 2:44pm yesterday, killing one person — a worker at a cement factory in Hualien County’s Yuli Township (玉里), who was struck by falling equipment, and at least 79 persons injured.
The quake, centered in Taitung County’s Chihshang Township (池上), also caused an apartment building and two bridges in Hualien to collapse. It was the strongest earthquake to hit the nation so far this year and followed a magnitude 6.4 tremor late on Saturday.
Rescuers in Yuli Township yesterday saved all four people trapped under rubble at the apartment building, and others rescued three people, who were crossing the nearby Kaoliao Bridge (高寮大橋) when it collapsed, the Hualien County Government said.
The Luntien Bridge (崙天大橋) connecting Hualien’s Jhuosi (卓溪) and Fuli (富里) townships also collapsed.
Damage was also reported at the Yuli Bridge (玉里橋), impeding traffic on Highway No. 9.
Six cars of Tzuchiang Express train No. 402 derailed in Hualien’s Dongli Station after being hit by a collapsing concrete canopy.
Photo: AFP / Taiwan Railways Administration
The Taiwan Railways Administration said that 20 passengers had left the train before the derailment.
Train services were suspended between Hualien and Taitung, the agency said.
It also reported damage to railway tracks and cables along railway lines in the two east coast counties.
Nearly 400 travelers were trapped on Yuli’s Chikeshan (赤科山), as a road was damaged by a landslide triggered by the earthquake, local residents said.
Cellphone reception was weak, likely due to utility poles being damaged by landslides, they said.
The quake also damaged water pipes in Yuli, where power outages affected more than 7,000 households.
Photo: Huang Ming-tang, Taipei Times
Hualien County Commissioner Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚) announced that schools and offices in Yuli, Fuli and Jhuosi townships would remain closed today, citing damage to homes, roads and other infrastructure.
Taitung County Commissioner Yao Ching-ling (饒慶鈴) announced school and office closures in Chihshang, Guanshan (關山), Luye (鹿野), Yenping (延平) and Haiduan (海端) townships.
Shaking was felt as far away as Taipei and Kaohsiung, with residents posting videos on social media of light fixtures swaying.
Photo courtesy of a member of the public
A 36-year-old man sustained injuries in Taoyuan’s Bade Civil Sports Center when part of the ceiling fell on a badminton court, the Taoyuan Fire Department said.
Isolated power outages were also reported in Taipei, Tainan, Kaohsiung, New Taipei City and Taitung County.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami advisory for several islands in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture near Taiwan, but later lifted it.
The magnitude 6.4 foreshock on Saturday night also caused damage to facilities in Taitung, including in Taitung City, and in Guanshan, Chihshang and Luye townships.
An 80-year-old colonial-era house in Taitung City, as well as the 68-year-old Wanan Brick Kilns in Chihshang were damaged. Hundreds of urns in a columbarium in Luye were damaged. In Guanshan, a rice mill and a concrete plant were damaged.
Additional reporting by agencies
‘NO SURRENDER’: A blockade or outlying island seizure would be an act of war, and China’s drills last month have emboldened Taipei in its response plans, an official said The Republic of China Army Command Headquarters has agreed to purchase 5,000 Kestrel close-range anti-armor missiles worth NT$400 million (US$12.63 million) from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, according to the military’s latest arms purchase bid notice. The army asked the institute to complete the order within 13 months, a military source said on condition of anonymity. Kestrel missiles are designed to penetrate armored vehicles and are used in anti-surface warfare, as they feature optical sights and night vision, and can be operated in all weather conditions. The missile has a 400m range, or a 150m range when used for breaching brick
IF THE CHIPS ARE DOWN: The US secretary of state warned that a disruption to the supply of Taiwanese semiconductors would play havoc with the global economy If Taiwan were attacked, the global economy would face devastation, as that is where most of the world’s semiconductors are produced, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday. In an interview that aired on the 60 Minutes television program, Blinken was asked whether instability across the Taiwan Strait would be felt around the world. Blinken said that China has been increasingly aggressive against Taiwan, posing a threat to peace and stability in the region, while economically the world would feel the effects of such aggression. Blinken was interviewed for the program after meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758
The UK is determined to work with its allies to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself, British Prime Minister Liz Truss said on Sunday, a pledge that drew expressions of gratitude from Taipei. “What I’ve been clear about is that all of our allies need to make sure Taiwan is able to defend itself, and that is very, very important,” Truss said in a CNN interview, when asked whether the UK was willing to match the US’ pledge last week to defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an attack by China. Truss said her government was working with its G7 allies,