Quake jolts Taiwan, injuring 64 people

08:08, March 05, 2010      

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A damaged house is pictured after the earthquake in southeast China's Taiwan, March 4, 2010. (Xinhua)

The 6.7-magnitude earthquake that struck southern Taiwan at 8:18 a.m. Beijing Time on Thursday has left 64 people injured, according to the latest statistics from local fire department.

Those injured have been taken to local hospitals, it said, without identifying them.

A blackout caused by the earthquake affected some 540,500 households. Electricity was restored at 2 p.m..

According to a separate report from education authorities, some 340 school buildings were damaged and classes were suspended in some schools Thursday. The report did not specify on the names of the schools.

The epicenter of the earthquake, at a depth of about 6 km, was 22.9 degrees north and 120.6 degrees east, at the juncture of the southern Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties, the China Earthquake Networks Center(CENC) said.

Xinhua reporters in Taipei felt the quake when it hit and telecommunications went down for a short time after.

An official with Jiasian Township at the epicenter told local media that at least three small landslides were triggered by the quake and cracks were found in houses.

Taiwan media footage showed cave-ins, landslides, cracks in school buildings, and power cuts. Many travelers were temporarily stranded at stations due to the temporary closure of high-speed railways.

Local media in Taiwan said the military was mobilized to help in quake-relief efforts.

The tremor was also felt in the mainland's Fujian Province on the western side of Taiwan Strait.

A man who identified himself as Lin in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province, said he was on the seventh floor when he felt a tremor. He said computer panels rattled furiously for a brief moment.

Residents of Xiamen, Quanzhou and Zhangzhou, all in Fujian, also said they felt an intense tremor when the quake hit.

An expert with Fujian Provincial Seismological Bureau told Xinhua that the earthquake had not caused any major damage in the province.

According to Taiwan's local authorities, the quake registered 6.4 on the Richter scale and its epicenter was at a depth of about 5 km.

Figures posted on the website of China Earthquake Administration (CEA) showed that a 7-magnitude occurred nearby in 1964, leaving 106 people dead and another 229 people seriously injured.

The Chinese mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) expressed sympathy through the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) for Taiwan people affected by the earthquake.

The mainland was deeply concerned about the injured and financial losses in Taiwan and hoped the people affected could resume their normal lives as soon as possible, the ARATS said in a letter to the SEF.

Yang Yi, spokesman with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, also sent "heartfelt sympathy and solicitude" for the people affected, and hoped they would recover soon and resume their normal lives.

"It's not clear how much damage the earthquake caused, but we can sympathize with those who are affected by it," said Lin Shengzhong, vice president of the All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots. "We are ready to initiate donations for them."

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