Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwan’s capital was hit by a series of earthquakes on Monday night, with the Central Weather Administration saying the strongest was a magnitude-5.9 tremor originating in eastern Hualien.

The region was the epicentre of a magnitude-7.4 quake that hit on April 3, causing landslides that blocked off roads around the mountainous region, while buildings in the main Hualien city were badly damaged.

At least 17 were killed in the quake, with the latest body found in a quarry on April 13.

Monday’s first strong quake — a magnitude 5.5 — hit Taiwan at around 5:08 pm (0908 GMT), according to Central Weather Administration, and could be felt in the capital Taipei.

It was followed by a series of aftershocks and earthquakes, with the most intense hitting around 10:15 pm (1415 GMT), according to AFP reporters.

The Central Weather Administration said it was a magnitude-5.9 quake with a depth of 8.6 kilometres (5.3 miles), though the US Geological Survey put it at 5.8 magnitude.

“Glass panels of (the) bathroom and windows were making noises,” an AFP staffer said, while another reporter said their building had swayed.

Hualien’s fire department earlier said that teams were dispatched to inspect any disaster from the quake.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and report in a timely manner,” it said in a post.

At 10:30 pm, it added that there were no reports so far of quake damages.

Taiwan sees frequent quakes as it is located at the junction of two tectonic plates.

The April 3 quake was followed by hundreds of aftershocks, which caused rockfalls around Hualien.

It was the most serious in Taiwan since 1999, when a magnitude-7.6 quake hit the island.

The death toll then was far higher — with 2,400 people killed in the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s history.

Stricter building regulations — including enhanced seismic requirements in its building codes — and widespread public disaster awareness appeared to have staved off a more serious catastrophe in April’s major quake.


© Agence France-Presse


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