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Earthquake hits southern Taiwan
Quake ripples across island's southern region causing injuries and property damage.
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2010 06:49 GMT
Despite some damage and isolated fires, the quake caused no fatalities officials said [AFP]

A powerful earthquake has shaken southern Taiwan, causing injuries due to falling objects, as well as damage to buildings and transportation infrastructure.

Officials said the magnitude 6.4 quake shook buildings for several minutes, triggered blackout in parts of the capital Taipei and disrupted the island's high-speed train links in the south.

Local news reports say several people were injured when the quake struck early on Thursday, but there have been no reports of any fatalities.

No tsunami alert was issued.

The quake's epicentre was in the town of Jiashian in the mountainous region about 70 kilometres northeast of the industrial city of Kaohsiung, the Central Weather Bureau said.

The bureau said the quake was the biggest to hit the Kaohsiung area in recent years.

Local media reports said residents in Kaohsiung rushed out into the streets as buildings started shaking, and were reluctant to re-enter.

The US Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 6.4, revised from an initial 6.5 and put the depth at five kilometres.

Minor damage

Liang Yu-chu, a spokesman with Taiwan's National Fire Administration disaster response centre, said the quake set off five fires, including one at a textile factory, and caused several incidents of elevators becoming jammed in their shafts. 

Ling added that no major damage was reported near the epicentre, a rural area hard hit in August by Typhoon Morakot, a powerful storm that left about 700 people dead.

Officials in the southern county of Chiayi reported some objects falling off rooftops.

In Nantou, another city in the island's south, water and power lines were cut.

Taiwan is regularly hit by quakes as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates.

One of the island's worst-recorded earthquakes measuring 7.6 occurred in September 1999.

More than 2,400 people were killed in the disaster, which damaged or destroyed some 50,000 buildings.

Source:
Agencies
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