Magnitude 6.1 quake hits east Taiwan - weather bureau


Posted at Apr 18 2019 01:46 PM | Updated as of Apr 18 2019 11:07 PM

An injured Malaysian tourist, in red, is assisted by rescue workers at the Taroko National Park in Hualien in eastern Taiwan, April 18, 2019 as seen in this photo released by Taroko National Park. A strong earthquake rattled eastern Taiwan early Thursday afternoon, causing scattered light damage in the capital and the eastern coast region. Taroko National Park via AP

TAIPEI (UPDATE 2) - A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan's coastal city of 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 school children being evacuated from buildings after the largest quake to hit the heavily industrialized island this year, a weather bureau official 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 km (11 miles), according to the weather bureau.

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 said she 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 also put the magnitude of the quake at 6.1, adding that it struck at a depth of 15 km from Hualien.

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

The Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei said its staff are checking on the condition of Filipinos in affected areas. 

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.