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Quake in central Taiwan kills 1

By Hu Meidong in Xiamen and An Baijie in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-28 07:14

Quake in central Taiwan kills 1

A damaged building in the Dali district of Taichung on Wednesday. AFP

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake jolted Taiwan on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring at least 86 others.

The tremor hit central Nantou county at 10:03 am, with the epicenter 8 km deep, said the China Earthquake Networks Center.

A 72-year-old woman was crushed to death by a collapsed wall, and 86 people in Taichung, Nantou and Changhua were injured, China News Service reported, quoting Taiwan's fire and rescue authority.

A pregnant nurse with the Nantou health bureau was hurt by a falling ceiling. The earthquake also caused fires across Taiwan and trapped many people in elevators, the report said.

Some railways were affected, with trains running at low speeds, said the report.

The earthquake is the heaviest to hit Taiwan this year. Nantou county experienced a 6.7-magnitude tremor in 2000 and a 6.15-magnitude quake in 2009.

Kuo Kai-wen, director of the earthquake monitoring center, said the quake on Wednesday appeared to be an aftershock of the 7.6-magnitude quake that hit the island on Sept 21, 1999, leaving more than 2,600 people dead, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Kim Yung-keng, a Taipei resident who was eating brunch with his friends when the quake struck, said that the tables in the restaurant shook for about 30 seconds.

"Some customers sitting close to the windows worried whether the window glass would break," he said. The people were shocked at first, but no aftershock occurred, he said.

"Taipei does not have too many earthquakes, so people don't worry much," he added.

Some of the mainland's coastal regions were also jolted by the earthquake, but no casualties were reported.

Zhen Dafeng, a company manager in Xiamen, Fujian province, said he felt the building shaking several times while having a meeting with his colleagues in the morning.

"Some people walked downstairs and got to the open area for fear of being trapped in the building," he said.

An 18-story building in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian, tilted after the quake occurred, news website reported.

A woman wearing pajamas said the building's security staff told all residents to get downstairs immediately, the report said.

Wang Lilin, a resident in Pingtan county, Fujian, said he felt swaying while reading a book in his bed on the seventh floor of his apartment.

"Pingtan is the mainland's nearest region to Taiwan, so we are used to such slight rocking," he said, adding that he experienced such swaying many times before.

"Sometimes we can't tell the difference between a real earthquake and the passage of a heavy truck," he said.

Many Shanghai residents said online they also felt a slight tremor in the morning.

The eastern metropolis is 740 km from the epicenter in Nantou, so the earthquake would not cause much damage in Shanghai, an earthquake expert told the Eastday news website.

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Xie Yu in Shanghai and Zheng Xin in Beijing contributed to this story.

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