Natural disaster strikes off coast of Taiwan, hotel collapses

Taiwan earthquake The effects of the earthquake measuring 6.4 in magnitude were felt in as far as the country’s capital Taipei

Taiwan earthquake The effects of the earthquake measuring 6.4 in magnitude were felt in as far as the country’s capital Taipei

A magnitude 6.0 natural disaster struck off the coast of Hualien at 11:50 p.m. tonight (Feb. 7) causing dramatic shaking throughout Taiwan, with Hualien suffering the brunt of the quake and at least five major buildings have collapsed, two bridges closed and sections of two highways have been shut off to traffic.

The quake hit just before midnight local time, 22km north-northeast of Hua-lien in Taiwan, 9.4km deep, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The epicenter of the natural disaster was at sea about 18.3 kilometers north of Hualien County Hall at a depth of 10 km, the bureau's Seismology Center said.

Local media reported a number of buildings had toppled with around 30 people trapped in the collapsed hotel. Today's quake occurred on the second anniversary of another that killed 117 two years ago.

Emergency services are working to free people who are trapped, the reports say.

Video shows rescuers helping people out of the building.

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She said there have been "quite a few" earthquakes within the past couple of days, and as soon as the quake hit they all ran from the building.

Several road were extensively damaged. Firefighters are continuing to deal with gas leaks and fires as a result of the quake.

Since Feb. 4, about 100 sensible earthquakes have jolted the area.

Taiwan lies along the famed "Pacific Rim of Fire" known for seismic activity from Alaska to Southeast Asia.

There had been at least 15 aftershocks following the quake, Taiwan's weather bureau said.

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