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9 killed, 1000 injured as 7.4 magnitude earthquake rocks Taiwan

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At least nine people were killed and more than 1,000 others were injured after an earthquake jolted Taiwan just before 8am on Wednesday.

Local Taiwanese officials said the tremors registered 7.4 on the Richter scale, making it the most powerful quake to hit the island in 25 years with its nearly 24 million residents.

The shocks were also felt in the capital of Taipei. But Hualien County, located on the island’s east coast, appeared to be hardest hit by the quake, destroying the county’s infrastructure.

Taiwan’s National Fire Agency (NFA), said people are trapped in two road tunnels along the Suhua Highway, one of the most dangerous roads in Taiwan, straddling between the mountainside and ocean.

According to CNN, three of the dead were hikers struck by falling rocks in a tourist area called Taroko Gorge. Tumbling rocks also killed a truck driver traveling on Suhua Highway.

Thousands of homes and buildings in Hualien were left badly damaged and without power CNN reported.

Major highways were also shut down as a result of landslides.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese authorities have launched a major emergency and rescue operation to save the scores of people trapped and provide medical care to over 100 injured victims.

 

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