By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
A 6.4-magnitude earthquake in the East China Sea struck off the east coast of Taiwan just before midnight Tuesday local time, the United States Geological Survey reported.
Officials said the temblor killed two hotel employees.
The island's Premier, William Lai, confirmed 114 people had sustained "light or severe injuries" and others were reportedly trapped inside collapsed buildings, the British Independent newspaper reported.
A 6.4 magnitude earthquake has toppled buildings in the Taiwanese city of Hualien. https://t.co/FdpxqZRkLD
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) February 6, 2018
It was “the strongest quake yet [in] a period of 48 hours which has seen dozens of temblors in the same area, with many parts of Taiwan seeing dramatic shaking,” the Taiwan News said. Tuesday's event came just two days after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck the coast of Taiwan.
Early reports said that a 5.1 aftershock damaged a number of buildings in Hualien City, including the Marshal Hotel. A number of people were reportedly trapped inside the hotel, the newspaper said.
Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reported that the ground floor of the Marshal Hotel had caved in. Another hotel known as the Beautiful Life Hotel was also shown tilting, the Independent said.
Laura Lo, a worker at the 7-Eleven convenience store across the street from the Marshal Hotel, told CNN that the first and second floors of the hotel appeared to be severely damaged.
Two bridges in Hualien City were damaged and sealed off from the public.
Gas leaks, blackouts and rock slides were also reported. Power has been cut to a large number of households and large cracks have damaged paved roads in the area.