Strong earthquake hits east coast of Taiwan

TAIPEI: A 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit the east coast of Taiwan on Saturday September 17, the US Geological Survey announced.

The quake struck just after 9:30 p.m. about 50 km north of Taitung city at a depth of about 10 km, the USGS said.
Taiwan’s Central Meteorological Bureau estimated the magnitude slightly lower at 6.4, but said it was shallower at 7.3 km.

The quake could be felt across Taiwan, according to the island’s weather bureau. Buildings briefly shook in the capital Taipei.

The Taiwan Fire Department said it had not yet received any damage reports.

Taitung County Commissioner April Yao wrote on her Facebook page that the quake was “extremely strong”, while state-run Central News Agency showed a picture of bottles that had been shaken from their shelves in a store in Taitung.

The Taipower utility said there was no interruption in electricity supply on Taiwan’s east coast.

Science parks in the southern cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung, home to major semiconductor factories, also said there was no impact on operations.

Taiwan sits near the junction of two tectonic plates and is prone to earthquakes.

More than 100 people were killed in an earthquake in southern Taiwan in 2016, while a magnitude 7.3 earthquake killed more than 2,000 people in 1999.