Taiwan Earthquake: Aftershocks as deadly quake hits island

Taiwan was rocked by a series of earthquakes on Monday and early Tuesday, the largest of which was magnitude 6.3, partially collapsing two buildings and keeping frightened residents awake all night. Officials said the tremor was an aftershock from a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that killed 17 people three weeks ago.

The shaking began shortly after 5pm local time on Monday when a magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck Hualien County on Taiwan’s east coast, said Wu Jianfu, head of the Earthquake Center at Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau. A series of small tremors followed minutes later in the same area.

Two buildings in Hualien city were partially destroyed, some residents were evacuated, and schools and offices in Hualien county were ordered to close on Tuesday amid fears of continued shaking. according to local news outlets. There were no reports of injuries or deaths by Tuesday morning.

Wu said at a press conference Monday night that the quake was an aftershock from the deadly April 3 quake, the strongest to hit Taiwan in 25 years. The epicenter of this earthquake was also in the Hualien County area.

By Tuesday morning, more than 180 shocks had been recorded in the past 24 hours, according to the Central Meteorological Bureau. The strongest was a magnitude 6 off the east coast of Taiwan at 2:26 a.m., and a magnitude 6.3 at 2:32 a.m. about 16 miles from Hualien County. The last major tremor was around 8 a.m. Tuesday. according to Central Meteorological Bureau.

Chen Meihui, 58, a former salesman who lives in Hualien, said the tremors made her feel “very painful.”

“I haven’t slept well since the earthquake last month,” she said Tuesday morning. “We can only pray that our home is strong enough to get through this difficult time.”

chris buckley Contributed to the report.

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