5.9 magnitude quake jolts Taiwan

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TAIPEI: A 5.9-magnitude earthquake rattled Taiwan on Thursday (Aug 8), the US Geological Survey said, disrupting traffic and causing power outages although there were no immediate reports of casualties.

The quake struck at 5.28am at a depth of 10km in northeastern Yilan county. Taiwan’s central weather bureau put its magnitude at 6.0.

Highrises swayed in the capital Taipei, waking people up from their sleep.

READ: Search for Hualien quake victims ends as toll rises to 17

Authorities said the quake was felt across Taiwan, causing power outages to more than 1,300 houses in the greater Taipei area while the Taiwan Railways Administration has suspended some services in Yilan.

Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by quakes.

In April, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit the island, disrupting traffic and injuring 17 people.

READ: Malaysian tourist injured in Hualien earthquake dies

In February last year, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck near Hualien city just before midnight, killing 17 people. Most of the victims were trapped in a building which had partially collapsed. 

Taiwan’s worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.

That quake ushered in stricter building codes but many of Taiwan’s older buildings remain perilously vulnerable to even moderate tremors.

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