02/07/2018, 10.16
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Hualien earthquake: four dead and hundreds injured

The magnitude 6.4 quake hit the island at 23.50. Damage and collapse of roads, bridges and buildings. 140 missing.

Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least four people were killed and 200 injured in the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck yesterday in Hualien, a city on the eastern coast of the island. Dozens of people have been trapped in collapsed buildings, and roads and bridges have suffered extensive damage.

The epicenter of the quake is located 21 km north-east of the Hualien coast, where more than 100 thousand people live. The earth shook at 9.5 km deep, at 11.50 pm (local time).

Two of the people who lost their lives worked at the Marshal hotel, one of the four collapsed buildings. About 140 are missing, and rescuers suspect that they are trapped inside damaged structures. The Yunman Cuidi, with both commercial and residential floors, hangs worryingly to one side.

At the moment, 35 thousand families have been left without running water and 200 have no electricity, while the aftershocks continue. About 800 people found refuge in public buildings.

The earthquake is the second in a few days to hit the coast of Hualien. The city is located inside the "Ring of Fire" in the Pacific Ocean, famous for the intense seismic activity between Alaska and Southeast Asia. Exactly two years ago, a shock of the same force hit the south of the country, causing the collapse of a condominium and the death of 115 people. In September 1999, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake resulted in 2,400 deaths.

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