Taiwan Rattled by Series of Earthquakes, Aftershocks of Deadly Quake

Taiwan Rattled by Series of Earthquakes, Aftershocks of Deadly Quake

Multiple earthquakes rattled Taiwan, with the strongest registering a magnitude of 6.1 according to the US Geological Survey, while Taiwan's Central Weather Administration reported magnitudes of 6.0 and 6.3. The series of quakes, believed to be aftershocks of a previous deadly earthquake, shook buildings and nerves across the island.

The tremors started on Monday around 5:00 pm local time, originating from Hualien on Taiwan's central east coast. This region had already been severely affected by a magnitude-7.4 quake that struck on April 3, claiming the lives of at least 17 people. The recent earthquakes were particularly unsettling for residents who were still reeling from the aftermath of the earlier disaster.

Residents across Taiwan, including those in the capital Taipei located about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Hualien, experienced a sleepless night as their homes and buildings trembled. Glass panels and walls swayed, causing anxiety and fear among the population. Kevin Lin, a 53-year-old office worker in Taipei, described how he was jolted awake by the intense quakes and was too scared to move from his bed.

The largest earthquake, measuring 6.1 in magnitude, struck at 2:30 am local time, followed shortly by a 6.0 magnitude quake. These powerful tremors were felt throughout the island, further exacerbating the already tense situation. Despite the significant magnitude of the earthquakes, no injuries were reported, but the constant shaking left many residents on edge.

In Hualien, where the earthquakes originated, the situation was particularly dire. A hotel building that had been previously damaged started tilting at an angle overnight, as captured in footage obtained by AFP. Firefighters urged residents of nearby buildings to evacuate for their safety, highlighting the ongoing risks posed by aftershocks.

To ensure the safety of residents, the Hualien county government announced the closure of schools and offices on Tuesday due to the continuous aftershocks. This precautionary measure aimed to prevent any potential harm or damage caused by further seismic activity.

The recent earthquakes have raised concerns among residents about the structural integrity of their buildings. Kevin Lin, reflecting on the situation, expressed worries about whether his 40-year-old apartment could withstand the ongoing seismic activity. Despite being taught earthquake response measures, Lin emphasized that the magnitude of the tremors was beyond what most people had prepared for.

Taiwan's vulnerability to earthquakes is due to its location at the junction of two tectonic plates. The April 3 quake was followed by over 1,100 aftershocks, which have caused rockfalls and other hazards around Hualien. This recent seismic activity is a stark reminder of the constant threat posed by earthquakes in the region.

However, Taiwan has implemented strict building regulations and disaster awareness measures to mitigate the impact of such natural disasters. The enhanced seismic requirements in building codes have helped to ensure that structures are more resilient to earthquakes. Additionally, widespread public awareness initiatives have equipped residents with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to seismic events.

Despite these efforts, the recent earthquakes serve as a sobering reminder of the unpredictable nature of seismic activity and the importance of remaining vigilant and prepared. Taiwan's resilience in the face of such challenges is a testament to the strength and determination of its people.

As the island continues to recover and rebuild, the government and local authorities will remain vigilant in monitoring seismic activity and implementing measures to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens. While earthquakes may shake the ground, they cannot shake the resolve of Taiwan's resilient population.

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