Magnitude 6.4 Quake Strikes Northeast Taiwan, Hotel Collapses

TAIPEI (Reuters) -
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. (AP Photo/Tian Jun-hsiung)

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck just to the northeast of the city of Hualien in Taiwan late on Tuesday, the U.S Geological Survey said, causing a hotel to collapse and forcing the closure of a nearby highway, the government said.

The quake struck about 14 miles northeast of the city shortly before midnight, and the epicenter was very shallow at just 0.6 miles.

An official from the Ministry of Interior’s fire station division told Reuters by phone that people were trapped in the buildings in Hualien.

The government said a bridge in the city on Taiwan’s eastern coast could not be used, and the structure of an inn had tilted during the earthquake.

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck nearby on Sunday.

“The president (Tsai Ing-wen) has asked the cabinet and related ministries to immediately launch the ‘disaster mechanism’ and to work at the fastest rate on disaster relief work,” the president’s office said in a statement after the Tuesday earthquake.