Taiwan Quake Damages Buildings and a Highway in Hualien

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The magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck Taiwan on Wednesday damaged numerous buildings and a major highway in Hualien, a city on the eastern coast, and it knocked out power as it rocked the island.

Two tall buildings in Hualien that sustained particularly extensive damage were at the center of the rescue efforts there. Most damage across the city was not life-threatening, said Huang Hsuan-wan, a reporter for a local news site.

“A lot of roads were blocked off. There are a lot of walls toppled over onto cars,” Derik du Plessis, 44, a South African resident of Hualien, said shortly after the earthquake. He described people rushing around the city to check on their houses and pick up their children. One of his friends lost her house, he said.

One of the damaged buildings in Hualien, a 10-story structure called the Uranus Building that houses a mix of homes and shops, was tilted over and appeared to be on the verge of collapse. Many of its residents managed to flee, but some were missing, said Sunny Wang, a journalist based in the city. Rescuers were trying to reach the basement, concerned that people might be trapped there.

Photographs of the initial damage in Hualien showed another building, a five-story structure, leaning to one side, with crushed motorcycles visible at the ground-floor level. Bricks had fallen off another high-rise, leaving cracks and holes in the walls.

The quake also set off at least nine landslides on Suhua Highway in Hualien, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, which said part of the road had collapsed.



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