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6.1 quake shakes Taiwan

A strong earthquake shook eastern Taiwan on Thursday afternoon, causing scattered light damage in the capital and along the eastern coast.

The 6.1 magnitude quake was centred northwest of the city of Hualien at a depth of nearly 19 kilometres (12 miles), Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said.

Water pipes at the city's train station burst and rail traffic was briefly suspended. Schools along the east coast were evacuated, with students holding their backpacks over their heads for protection. TV news showed at least one landslide in a lightly populated area.

Two hikers in the famed Taroko Gorge national park, including one from Malaysia, were injured by falling rocks, the Hualien government reported.

Traffic through the gorge has been halted while drones and helicopters check for damage, Premier Su Tseng-chang said.

"If it rains, (retaining walls) could fall down, so we urge people not to get close," he said.

Su said schools, worksites and water, power and transit lines had also been checked for damage. While no major problems were found, cracked road surfaces on the east coast could become a problem if rain falls soon, he said.

In Taipei, about 115 kilometres (70 miles) from the epicenter, people felt buildings shake, and one multistory building was leaning against its neighbour after its foundation shifted. The city's subway system suspended service.

People in Chinese cities close to the Taiwan Strait dividing Taiwan from mainland China reported on social media that they also felt the quake.



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