A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck sparsely populated southeastern Taiwan on Sunday, the island’s weather bureau said, derailing train cars, causing self-service cars to collapse and trapping hundreds of people on mountain roads. The weather bureau said the epicenter was in Taitung County and was followed by a 6.4-magnitude tremor in the same area on Saturday night, which did not cause any casualties. The USGS measured Sunday’s earthquake at a magnitude of 7.2 and at a depth of 10 km (six miles).
Taiwanese firefighters said one person died and 146 were injured in the quake. All four people were rescued from a building that collapsed in Yuli, while three people whose vehicles fell from a damaged bridge were rescued and taken to hospital. The Railway Administration of Taiwan said six carriages derailed at Dongli station in eastern Taiwan after part of a platform canopy collapsed, but firefighters said there were no injuries.
More than 600 people are trapped in the scenic Chike and Liushishi mountain areas by blocked roads, although there were no injuries and rescuers are working to reopen roads, the ministry said. The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for Taiwan after the tremors, but later canceled the warning. The Japan Meteorological Agency has canceled a tsunami warning for part of Okinawa Prefecture.
The quake was felt across Taiwan, the weather bureau said. Buildings shook briefly in the capital, Taipei, and aftershocks continued to shake the island. Science parks in the southern cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung, home to large semiconductor factories, said there was no impact from the operation. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) 2330.TW, TSM.N, the world’s largest contract chip maker, said there was “no significant impact known yet.”
Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is prone to earthquakes.More than 100 people died in an earthquake in southern Taiwan in 2016, while a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in 1999 killed more than 2,000 people.