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Taiwan hit by strong 5.5-magnitude quake


Agence France-Presse

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s capital was shaken by a “strong” earthquake early Monday evening, AFP staff reported, with the Central Weather Administration saying it was a magnitude-5.5 tremor originating in eastern Hualien.

The region was the epicentre of a magnitude-7.4 quake that hit on April 3, causing landslides around the mountainous region that blocked off roads, while buildings in the main Hualien city were badly damaged.

At least 17 were killed in the quake, with the latest body discovered on April 13 in a quarry.

Monday’s quake hit Taiwan at around 5:08 pm local time (0908 GMT) and could be felt in the capital Taipei.

US Geological Survey put it at 5.3 magnitude, with a depth of 8.9 kilometres.

“It felt like one of the strongest quakes or aftershocks since the big one earlier this month,” an AFP staffer said.

Hualien’s fire department said in a short post on its official social media channel that they had dispatched teams to inspect of any disaster from the quake.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and report in a timely manner.”

Taiwan sees frequent quakes as it is located at the junction of two tectonic plates.

The April 3 quake was followed by hundreds of aftershocks, which caused rockfalls around Hualien.

It was the most serious in Taiwan since 1999, when a magnitude-7.6 hit the island.

The death toll then was far higher — with 2,400 people killed in the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s history.

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