Taiwan hotel collapses after 6.4- magnitude earthquake

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TAIPEI, TAIWAN : A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan’s east coast Tuesday causing heavy damage and the collapse of a hotel. The quake hit at 23:50 pm (1550 GMT) around 21 kilometres (13 miles) northeast of the port city Hualien, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Taiwan’s official Central News Agency says the ground floor of the Marshal Hotel, a building in Hualien district, has caved in and people are trapped inside. Initial media reports said there were 30 people trapped inside with others crawling to safety. The military has been dispatched to aid in rescue efforts.  Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen said rescuers from around the island were preparing to help. “We will get into disaster relief work at the fastest speed,” she said in a post on her Facebook page.

The tremor also produced landslides along the Su-Hua Highway, closing roads along the route to city. NDTV reported that the fire agency said at least four buildings including another hotel had toppled or been damaged, with televison images showing roads strewn with rubble and cracks in highways.