Buildings in eastern Taiwan's Hualien collapse after magnitude 6.0 quake

Taiwan earthquake

Taiwan earthquake

A magnitude 6.4 natural disaster has struck near the coast of Taiwan, killing two employees of a hotel that toppled and injuring more than 200 other people.

The national fire agency said at least four buildings had fallen or been damaged, with television footage showing roads strewn with rubble and cracks in highways.

Dramatic photos of damage after the quake showed Marshal Hotel in Hualien partially collapsed, according to the Taiwan Observer.

Some 88 soldiers were helping the local fire service respond at the hotel, and another 250 were on standby to help.

There have been three aftershock quakes over 5.0 so far.

Maggie Lewis, an American visiting scholar living in Taipei which is two hours away from the epicenter in Hualien City, said people there felt a minor shock.

Rescue workers search the Marshal Hotel in Hualien, eastern Taiwan early February 7, 2018, after a strong natural disaster struck the island.The Marshal Hotel is damaged after an quake hit Hualien on Taiiwan's east coast during the night of February 6, 2018.

Officials said the temblor killed two hotel employees.

Some are still trapped inside of the half-collapsed hotel and are shining the torches on their phones so responders know they're there.

"It's the biggest quake I've experienced in Hualien in more than 10 years", resident Blue Hsu told AFP, who said his home shook violently.

The large building in Hualien looked very close to collapsing completely. The quakes continue to jolt the area near Hualien County through early Wednesday morning.

Gas leaks, blackouts and rockfall were also reported. Taiwan sits near a junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

Hualien is one of Taiwan's most popular tourist hubs as it lies on the picturesque east coast rail line and is near to popular Taroko Gorge.

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