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Deadly earthquake topples buildings in Taiwan, 9 confirmed dead

Taiwan was rocked by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on Wednesday, the strongest to hit the island in 25 years. It has so far killed 9 people, injured about 900 others and prompted a tsunami warning for southern Japan and the Philippines.

Taiwan’s national fire agency said four people died in Hualien County and at least 57 were injured in the quake that struck just before 8am (00:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Train services were suspended across the island of 23 million people, as were subway services in Taipei, where a newly constructed above-ground line partially separated.

Traffic along the east coast was at a virtual standstill, with landslides and falling debris hitting tunnels and highways in the mountainous region, causing damage to vehicles.

Despite the quake striking at the height of the morning rush hour, the initial panic faded quickly on the island, which is regularly rocked by tremors and prepares for them with drills at schools and notices issued via public media and mobile phones.

Emergency workers assisting a man trapped in a damaged building, in New Taipei City. [CNA via AFP]
Taiwan’s worst quake in recent years struck on September 21, 1999, with a magnitude of 7.6, causing 2,400 deaths, injuring about 100,000 and destroying thousands of buildings.

Derek Kanalo
the authorDerek Kanalo
News Reporter/ Editor
Am a professionally trained and well skilled media personality. Accuracy is part of my top priority as a journalist.