Accessibility links

Breaking News

Taiwan Earthquake: Several Buildings Leaning Near Collapse


A residential building leans on a collapsed first floor following an earthquake, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, in Hualien, southern Taiwan. Rescue crews continue to try free people from damaged buildings after a strong earthquake hit near Taiwan's east coast and killed at least four people. (Central News Agency via AP)
Taiwan Earthquake: Several Buildings Leaning Near Collapse
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:03:36 0:00

A powerful earthquake struck Taiwan late Tuesday, killing at least seven people and leaving several buildings leaning, near total collapse.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit around the middle of the night local time near the coastal city of Hualien. Search and rescue operations continued in an effort to save dozens of people missing.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen visited the damaged areas. She promised that every effort would be made to rescue survivors. At least 260 people were reported injured and more than 80 are missing.

The earthquake split some roads in half and left about 40,000 homes without water. Nearly 2,000 others did not have electricity.

Rescuers are seen entering a building that collapsed onto its side from an early morning 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 7 2018. Rescue workers are searching for any survivors trapped inside the building.
Rescuers are seen entering a building that collapsed onto its side from an early morning 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 7 2018. Rescue workers are searching for any survivors trapped inside the building.

Some of the most powerful pictures and video of the disaster showed high-rise buildings tilting heavily after the earthquake.

Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center said rescue efforts in one area were briefly halted over safety concerns. One residential building continued to lean towards collapse causing rescuers to stop their efforts.

A fireman works at a collapses building after earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan, Feb. 7, 2018.
A fireman works at a collapses building after earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan, Feb. 7, 2018.

Rescue workers put up steel beams against the building in an effort to prevent it from completely collapsing. Large concrete blocks were also placed against the beams for added support.

The building was among at least four in the area that sank and shifted because of the earthquake. Experts say the shifts were likely caused by soil liquefaction. This process can cause the ground underneath a building to lose its solidity under great physical stress.

Rescue workers search through rubble outside the Marshal Hotel in Hualien, eastern Taiwan early February 7, 2018, after a strong earthquake struck the island.
Rescue workers search through rubble outside the Marshal Hotel in Hualien, eastern Taiwan early February 7, 2018, after a strong earthquake struck the island.

Shifting destroyed the lower floors of several buildings, forcing rescue workers to enter windows to reach people trapped inside.

Hualien prosecutors said they had launched an investigation. They want to know about possible negligence in construction of buildings that collapsed or tilted from the earthquake, the Taipei Times reported.

Government officials are seeking building records and said they would question companies in the buildings’ planning and construction. The investigation will look into whether shortcuts were taken, if poor building materials were used and whether all government rules were followed.

Taiwan sits in a very seismically active area known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. Earthquakes regularly strike the area.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and other sources. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

_______________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

lean v. to bend or move from a straight position

tilt v. to move into a position where one end or side is higher than the other

residential adj. of or relating to the places where people live

beam n. long and heavy piece of wood or metal used to support parts of a building, ship, etc.

concrete n. a hard substance used in construction

shift v. to move to a different place, position, etc.

negligence n. failure to take the care that a responsible person usually takes

shortcut n. a faster or easier way to do something

seismically adv. relating to or caused by an earthquake

Your opinion

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG