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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Strong aftershocks from deadly quake rattle Taiwan

By Amy Chang Chien and Yan Zhuang

Taiwan was shaken by a series of earthquakes on Monday and early Tuesday, the strongest with a magnitude of 6.3, partially toppling four buildings and keeping frightened residents up overnight. The tremors were aftershocks from the magnitude 7.4 quake that killed 17 people three weeks ago, authorities said.

The tremors began just after 5 p.m. Monday with a 5.5 magnitude quake in Hualien County on Taiwan’s east coast, according to Wu Chien-fu, director of the Taiwanese Central Weather Administration’s Seismological Center. It was followed by a series of smaller tremors some minutes later in the same area.

Four buildings Hualien County partially collapsed, some residents were evacuated, and schools and offices in the county were ordered to close Tuesday because of the threat of continuing tremors, according to local news outlets. No injuries or deaths had been reported by Tuesday morning.

Wu said at a news conference Monday night that the quakes were aftershocks from the deadly April 3 quake, which was the strongest to hit Taiwan in 25 years. The epicenter of that earthquake was also in the Hualien County area.

By Tuesday morning, more than 180 shocks had been recorded in the previous 24 hours, according to the Central Weather Administration. The strongest were at 2:26 a.m., at magnitude 6, off Taiwan’s eastern coast, and 2:32 a.m., at magnitude 6.3, about 10 miles from Hualien County. The latest big tremor came about 8 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Central Weather Administration.

Chen Mei-hui, 58, a retired salesperson who lives in Hualien, said the tremors had put her in a “very torturous mood.”

“I have been unable to sleep well since the earthquake this month,” she said Tuesday morning. “We can only pray that our house is strong enough to get us through this difficult time.”

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