Strong earthquake hits southeastern Taiwan, buildings collapse

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  • Train derails, four rescued from collapsed building
  • Tsunami warning lifted, chip foundries not affected
  • More than 600 people trapped in blocked mountain road
  • The quake followed Saturday’s 6.4-magnitude quake

TAIPEI, Sept 18 (Reuters) – A 6.8-magnitude earthquake in sparsely populated southeastern Taiwan on Sunday derailed a train carriage, collapsed a convenience store and trapped hundreds of people on a mountain road, the Taiwan Meteorological Bureau said.

The epicentre was in Taitung County, where a 6.4-magnitude quake struck the same area Saturday night, with no casualties, the meteorological bureau more

The U.S. Geological Survey measured Sunday’s quake at a magnitude of 7.2 and a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).

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Taiwan’s fire department said all four people were rescued in the collapsed convenience store building in Yuli City, and three people’s vehicles fell from the damaged bridge and were rescued and taken to the hospital.

The Taiwan Railway Administration said six carriages derailed after the hood of the Taitung Dongli platform partially collapsed, but the fire department said no one was injured.

Although no one was injured and rescuers were working to reopen roads, more than 600 people remained trapped in the scenic Chike and Six Stone Mountains, the department said.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued an alert to Taiwan after the quake, but it was later lifted. The Japan Meteorological Agency has lifted the tsunami warning for parts of Okinawa Prefecture.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the quake could be felt across Taiwan. Buildings in the capital Taipei shook briefly, and aftershocks continued to shake the entire island.

Tech parks in the southern cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung, where major semiconductor factories are located, said there was no impact on operations.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) (2330.TW), the world’s largest foundry chipmaker, said there were “no known significant impacts at this time.”

Taiwan is located at the junction of the two tectonic plates and is prone to earthquakes.

The 2016 earthquake in southern Taiwan killed more than 100 people, while the 7.3-magnitude quake in 1999 killed more than 2,000.

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Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee; Additional reporting by Martin Quin Pollard, Sam Nussey and Anirudh Saligrama; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Christian Schmollinger

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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