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Taiwan: Biggest Earthquake In 25 Years Kills 9 People, Causes 200 Tremors

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A day after Taiwan saw its greatest earthquake in 25 years, rescuers are still trying to rescue about 100 individuals who are still trapped.

Nine people died and over a thousand were injured when a 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck close to Hualien County’s eastern border. Hikers on a track heading toward Taroko National Park—named for a famous gorge west of Hualien—accounted for three of the nine fatalities.

One victim describes how rockslides “like bullets” were unleashed by the earthquake around the coal mine where he was employed. “The mountain started raining rocks like bullets, we had nowhere to escape to, everyone ran beside the sandbags for cover,” the survivor told Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

Relief & rescue works

Helicopters have rescued those stuck in tunnels and close to a national park, but 34 are still unaccounted for. According to local accounts, food supplies have been airdropped to dozens of people who are stranded in these places.

Relief activities are moving swiftly in Hualien city, the county seat where the earthquake occurred. Workers are demolishing many damaged buildings using excavators and other heavy machinery.

In order to restore regular train services, relief workers were clearing enormous boulders—the size of cars—that had fallen next to railway lines on Thursday morning.

The 10-story Uranus building, which has been tilting downward since the earthquake, is also being shored up with a lot of gravel and boulders to keep it from collapsing in the event of another aftershock.

More than 200 tremors, many of which were at least 6.5 magnitude or higher, followed the earthquake, which occurred 18 km south of Hualien, complicating search and rescue operations. Over the following three days, further aftershocks are anticipated by Taiwanese authorities.

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