Hotel collapses in Taiwan after major earthquake

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A magnitude 6.4 earthquake has hit the coast off eastern Taiwan, and the government says a hotel has collapsed.

The US Geological Survey reported the quake was shallow at a depth of 10km and struck at 15:50 GMT, about 20km off the east coast.

A hotel in the city of Hualien – with a population of about 106,000 – has collapsed, the government said in a statement. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reported the ground floor of the Marshal Hotel caved in, which led to its collapse.

Local media showed footage of leaning buildings and cracked pavements.

Journalist Joyce Huang, reporting from the capital Taipei, told Al Jazeera on the phone that as many as 30 people may be trapped in the hotel.

“Local rescue workers have rushed to the area to try to get them out. Also around the train station in Hualien, another building has collapsed,” said Huang.

Tuesday’s earthquake comes exactly two years after a 6.4-magnitude temblor struck Taiwan’s southern city of Tainan, killing 117 people after it brought down the Wei-Guan Golden Dragon apartment complex.

The quake follows a spate of tremors in the region. On Sunday, a 6.1-magnitude temblor struck nearby.

The island of Taiwan sits in the so-called Ring of Fire, an area in the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and volcanic activity frequently occur.

In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude quake in Taiwan killed more than 2,400 people and left 100,000 homeless.

Source: Al Jazeera News

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