Filipinos in Taiwan safe after quake


Posted at Apr 19 2019 12:27 AM | Updated as of Apr 19 2019 12:58 AM

MANILA—There were no reports of casualties among Filipinos in Taiwan following a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan's coastal city of Hualien on Thursday, an official of the Philippines’ de facto embassy on the island.

Nestor Mayo, deputy chief for assistance at the Manila Economic and Cultural Office, said there were “no reported damage or casualty on any OFW.”

“Our Filcom (Filipino community) leaders continue to monitor and will update me as soon as any untoward incident affects our fellowmen,” he added.

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck Hualien on Thursday, shaking buildings and temporarily halting subway services in the capital Taipei, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.

Television footage showed schoolchildren being evacuated from buildings after the largest quake to hit the heavily industrialized island this year, a weather bureau official said.

A hundred people were evacuated from a building in Taipei, while two people were hit by falling rocks in the tourist city of Hualien, the government said.

While small-scale power cuts were reported in some districts in Taipei, the Central News Agency said oil refinery plants and services were operating as normal, according to the government.

It set up a disaster reaction center after the quake which hit at a depth of 18 kilometers, according to the weather bureau. Aftershocks of more than a 5 magnitude were possible in the coming days, the bureau said.

President Tsai Ing-wen said high-speed rail service in northern Taiwan, between Taipei and the neighboring city of Taoyuan, had been temporarily suspended.

On her official Facebook page, Tsai asked officials "to gather information from everywhere to check whether there's any damage, and if so, to react as soon as possible."

The United States Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 6.4, adding that it struck at a depth of 15 kilometers from Hualien.

In February 2018, a devastating 6.4-magnitude quake rocked Hualien, toppling buildings, ripping large fissures in roads and unleashing panic among the roughly 100,000 residents.

Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China considers its own, lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is prone to earthquakes.

More than 100 people were killed in an earthquake in the island's south in 2016, and a quake of 7.6 magnitude killed more than 2,000 people in 1999. - with Reuters