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A 6.8-magnitude earthquake kills Taiwan, destroys a 3-storey building and derails a train

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A strong earthquake shook most of Taiwan on Sunday, toppling a three-story building, temporarily trapping four people inside, stranding some 400 tourists on a mountainside, and pushing part of a commuter train off track.

The Taiwan Emergency Operations Center said one person died and nine others were slightly injured.

The 6.8-magnitude quake was the largest of dozens to hit the island’s southeast coast since Saturday evening, when a 6.4-magnitude quake hit the same area.

Most of the damage appeared to have occurred north of the epicenter, which the Taiwan Meteorological Bureau said occurred in the town of Qichang at a depth of 4 miles, relatively shallow.

The island’s central news agency said a cement factory worker died in the neighboring town of Yuli, and the three-story building that housed a 7- to 11-storey convenience store on the ground floor and residences above it collapsed.

In this photo provided by the Hualien City government, firefighters are seen in a collapsed building during a rescue operation in the aftermath of the earthquake in Yuli Township, Hualien County, eastern Taiwan, on Sunday, September 18, 2022. Hualien City Government via The Associated Press

The 70-year-old owner and his wife were rescued first, but it took longer to reach the 39-year-old woman and her 5-year-old daughter.

A photo released by the city government of Hualien showed the girl lying on a blanket and rescue workers in orange uniforms handed her a metal ladder from the top of the wreckage.

The top two floors of the building were left running across a small street and on the other side, with the electrical wires pulled down by the structure that had fallen.

More than 7,000 families were reported without electricity in Yuli, and water pipes were also damaged. Shelves and musical instruments in the Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church fell and a long crack fell on its floor. Outside, the sidewalk has been smashed into slabs of concrete.

In this photo provided by the Hualien City government, a firefighter carries a victim during a rescue operation following an earthquake in Yuli Township, Hualien County, east Taiwan, Sunday, September 18, 2022. Hualien City Government via The Associated Press

Police and firefighters rushed a bridge collapse on a two-lane road in what appears to be a rural part of the same town where three people and one or more cars may have fallen, according to media reports.

Also in Yuli, a landslide trapped nearly 400 tourists on a mountain famous for its orange daylilies that cover its slopes at this time of year, the Central News Agency said. They had no electricity and a weak cell phone signal.

Debris from a falling umbrella on a platform at Dongli Station in Fuli Town, located between Yuli and the earthquake epicenter in Qichang, hit a passing train, knocking six cars off course, the Central News Agency said, citing the railway administration. None of the 20 passengers were injured.

The shaking was felt at the northern tip of the island in the capital, Taipei. In Taoyuan City, west of Taipei and 130 miles north of the epicenter, a man suffered a roof collapse on the fifth floor of a sports center.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for several southern Japanese islands near Taiwan, but later raised them.

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