Two dead and 114 injured after twin tremors strike Asian city
TWO people have been killed and more than 100 are injured after two earthquakes struck Taiwan.
The island's Premier, William Lai, confirmed 114 people had sustained "light or severe injuries" and others were reportedly trapped inside collapsed buildings.
The deaths were reported after a hotel in Hualien collapsed following the 6.4-magnitude tremor, which struck 13 miles north-east of the city and at a depth of 5.9 miles, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
It hit shortly before midnight local time.
A second earthquake, of magnitude 5.2, hit not far from the one that caused destruction a few hours earlier. The USGS said it had hit at a depth of 4.2 miles.
Those tremors followed a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck on Sunday.
Images posted on social media appeared to show pillars holding up the Marshal Hotel in Gongyuan Road, Hualien, had collapsed, bringing the higher floors of the building onto street level.
A separate hotel known as the Beautiful Life Hotel was also shown tilting.
"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.
Update: So far 29 casualties have been reported. Strong 6.5 earthquake hits eastern Taiwan’s Hualien City. Photos shared on Twitter and Weibo show extensive damage. @CGTN is keep updating the latest, click the link below for the live report. https://t.co/x8mXiYU0YN pic.twitter.com/Zg9rRH6vnZ— CGTN America (@cgtnamerica) February 6, 2018
Taiwan's official Central News Agency reported that the ground floor of the Marshal Hotel had caved in and people were trapped inside. It posted photos showing a road fractured in several parts.
Several buildings in Hualien were tilting or caved in, according to the outlet.
The agency quoted a spokesman of Taiwan's Executive Yuan, the governing cabinet's office, as saying that search teams from other areas were headed to Hualien.
Taiwan lies on the Pacific "ring of fire" where earthquakes are common.