Earthquake Strikes Taiwan, Killing at Least 9 People and Injuring Hundreds More

An earthquake struck eastern Taiwan on Tuesday, killing at least nine people and injuring hundreds more. The magnitude 7.4 quake hit at a shallow depth of 22 miles, triggering landslides and building collapses. Taiwan is located near the intersection of the Eurasian and Philippine Sea tectonic plates, making it vulnerable to seismic activity.

The earthquake was felt across the island, with the heaviest damage reported in Hualien County. So far, 201 aftershocks have been reported, with many exceeding magnitude 5. Authorities have warned residents of possible landslides and encouraged them to avoid visiting tombs this weekend due to the risk of dangerous road conditions.

Chen Hsing-yun, 26, a resident of Hualien, described the earthquake as shaking her third-story apartment for an extended period of time. "I was sleeping when the shaking started, and it kept shaking and shaking for so long," she said.

Many residents were able to evacuate to the streets and assess damage, but the frequent aftershocks prevented many from returning to their homes. "My restaurant is so busy because many others are a mess and haven't cleaned up," local restaurant owner Lin Chin-Ching commented.

The overriding concern among residents is the potential for damaged roads and tunnels to ruin the local tourism-dependent economy. Yi-Ying Wen, an earthquake specialist at National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan, suggested that the size of aftershocks would slowly diminish over the next two weeks.

In the meantime, authorities are working to restore transportation services and evaluate the stability of damaged structures. This latest earthquake struck during a holiday season known as Ching Ming, when people across the Chinese-speaking world mourn the dead and offer offerings at their graves.

Despite the devastating effects of the earthquake, Chung Chung, the transport minister, confirmed that there would be no changes in plans for the holiday. "A lot of buildings need to be inspected for damage that you can't see. That will take a long time, too," Chin-Ching lamented.

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