Natural Disasters

Taiwan’s earthquake kills at least 4, injures 225; powerful aftershocks on cards

The quake has sparked off several aftershocks, which are likely to continue in the coming two weeks

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 07 February 2018

At least four people were killed and 225 injured in a 6.4 earthquake that hit near the coastal city of Hualien just before midnight on Tuesday, according to media reports. The epicentre of the shallow quake was just 1km, according to the US Geological Survey.

Japanese, Czech and mainland Chinese nationals were among the injured, according to media reports. The search for about 145 people missing is still ongoing about 22 km northeast of Hualien, home to about 100,000 people, on Taiwan's east coast. Taiwan experiences frequent earthquakes as it is located along the Ring of Fire—the seismic faults encircling the Pacific Ocean. In fact, an earthquake of 6.1 magnitude struck nearby on Sunday as well.

Last year, a study had said that in 2018, the world might see an increase in the number of high-magnitude earthquakes measuring more than seven on Richter scale. According to Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado (CU) and Rebecca Bendick at the University of Montana, this could be due to Earth’s slowdown—periodic slowing of the Earth’s rotation by milliseconds.

In 2016, more than 100 were killed in a quake in southern Taiwan. In 1999, a 7.6 magnitude quake was felt across the island and killed more than 2,000 people.

Taiwan has been rocked by more than 100 earthquakes of varying magnitudes so far this month, according to the government. Currently, the city of Hualien is being hit by a series of powerful aftershocks. The government says that aftershocks with a magnitude of at least 5 could hit the island in the next two weeks. 

The president has reportedly asked the cabinet and related ministries to immediately launch a 'disaster mechanism.'

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