Earthquake rocks Taiwan and disrupts the region
by Karen Lee Bracher
A powerful earthquake struck Taiwan measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale.
The earthquake struck on December 26 at 8.26pm, followed by two strong aftershocks eight and 14 minutes later, with magnitudes of 6.4 and 5.2 respectively.
Two people were killed and at least 42 were wounded. One victim was a mother who died trying to protect her twin sons. Fang Shu-chuan, 36, was shielding the seven-year-old twins with her body when the three-storey furniture shop where they lived collapsed. One of the boys was seriously hurt and the other suffered minor injuries. Fang's 34-year-old brother also died in the disaster.
Internet connections across the Asia-Pacific region, including Hong Kong, were affected due to damage caused by the earthquake to undersea data cables.
Some Hong Kong residents also felt tremors in their homes with some buildings shaking and swaying.
The worst-hit was Pingtung region in Taiwan, 350 kilometers southwest of Taipei. The central weather bureau said last week's quake was the most powerful in a century.
How & Why?
Taiwan, which lies near the junction of two tectonic plates, is regularly shaken by earthquakes. The quake was centred under the sea off Taiwan's southern-most tip.