Taiwan Earthquake Destroys Coast

Photo Credit : Ho.siminn
A picture of the disasters caused by the 1999 Taiwan earthquake.

Abigail Johnson/Senior Reporter

This past week, Taiwan suffered a terrible catastrophe with an earthquake on the east coast of their island. Calling it terrible is not an exaggeration either; Taiwan is not a stranger to earthquakes. In fact, in the last month, Taiwan has had 37 earthquakes. Most earthquakes there are “mild” or not extreme on the Richter magnitude scale, the scale used for judging critical earthquakes.

However, on Tuesday, Feb. 16, Taiwan was exposed to an earthquake that measured as a 6.4 magnitude event.  The entire country felt the fierce vibrations, but the disaster focus took place on the coast of the tourist county Hualien. It was here that a large hotel named the Yunmen Tsui started to collapse. The first floor of the building caved, causing it to lean sideways on its support beams instead of completely shattering to the ground. Reports say that emergency personnel have rescued many people from the hotel, but some people are still missing, including a Chinese family that was staying there the night before.

Over the past couple of days, rescue workers and authorities are continuing to search for this missing family as well as clearing away the destruction from the event.

Officials calculated that 14 people died from this earthquake and 273 people were injured. Another collapsed hotel named The Beauty Inn caused two of the deaths. Rescue teams broke in to find the bodies of a Canadian couple on vacation.

They have located many survivors, yet numerous people still are unaccounted for since the morning of the disaster. As Taiwan picks up the remains of the coastal Hualien County, many other countries, including Japan and China, are offering to help during this time of tragedy. This earthquake is the first time Taiwan had experienced an earthquake this deadly since 1999 when the disaster killed 2,300 people. Now, the island must brace itself for the next attack while pulling itself back together.

The unpredictable nature of the Earth leaves the mystery of earthquakes still unknown, and scientists are continuing to research and test ways to create a warning system for locations with numerous tremors such as Taiwan.