Nine dead, 265 injured after two consecutive major earthquakes hit Taiwan's east coast

  • A strong earthquake hit eastern Taiwan on Tuesday night.
  • Another quake hit the island 24 hours later, along with more than 100 aftershocks.
  • Nine people have died and and hundreds more injured.
  • Rescuers fear dozens of people are stuck in collapsed buildings.

A powerful, 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan’s east coast shortly before midnight Tuesday (local time), killing nine and injuring as many as 265 people.

A second 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck the country 24 hours later. It came after more than 180 aftershocks that continued into Thursday morning. Details on the second quake’s impact are still emerging.

As many as 62 people are still missing, according to government officials cited by the Reuters news agency.

Many are probably trapped inside collapsed buildings on the island. The initial quake originated about 13 miles (21 kilometers) northeast of the coastal Hualien City, where several buildings were damaged and the Marshal Hotel collapsed.

Mainland Chinese, Czech, Japanese, Singaporean and South Korean nationals were among the injured

A volunteer rescuer, Yang Hsi Hua, told Reuters: “This is the worst earthquake in the history of Hualien, or at least over the past 40 years that I’ve been alive.”

Taiwan earthquakePAUL YANG/AFP/Getty ImagesA damaged vehicle outside the Marshal Hotel in Hualien.

Despite aftershocks, no tsunami warnings have been issued.

Power has been restored to most, however more than 31,000 families are still without fresh water, according to South China Morning Post.

China had offered to assist with the earthquake rescue mission, but Taipei refused.

“At the moment, we have adequate manpower and facilities in support of the rescue operation,” said Chiu Chui-cheng, vice-chairman of The Mainland Affairs Council, according to South China Morning Post. “We deeply appreciate their offer, but so far we are not in need of their help.”

Hualien is a popular tourist destination and home to about 100,000 people.

Tremors were also felt in the capital city of Taipei, according to the US Geological Survey.

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