Death Toll Rises as Emergency Reports Continue to Come in, Hualien County, Taiwan

As this publication reported last night, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake occurred approximately 11 miles (18 km) northeast of Hualien City, located along Taiwan’s eastern coast. This quake prompted tsunami warnings for surrounding pacific nations and Taiwan itself. This has been declared the largest earthquake in 25 years to hit the region. Of the hundreds of reports seen by this publication, most of the damage and virtually all of the deaths have been localized in the sparsely populated, but beautiful Hualien County. As of the 2015 census, 331,000 people lived in Hualien county.

Credit: ZeroHedge
Hualien County, Taiwan
Population density of Hualien County

That death toll has now risen to 10, with 736 injured and 70 miners trapped in Taiwan Cement Hualien Heping Mine and six others trapped in Heren mining area.

Timeline and Damages

At approximately 0220 EST, the first tremors were felt throughout the region and four people were immediately killed in Hualien. Initial damage reports indicated that buildings collapsed, bridges were destroyed and MRT lines train services were suspended across Hualien. As of this publication, 330 homes are still without power and 20,000 person have reported power outages.

An overhead crane of China Airlines aircraft maintenance hangar collapsed at Taiwan Taoyuan Airport in Taoyuan City following the quake. Damages were also reported at seven hospitals in Taipei with Tri-Service General Hospital Songshan Branch temporarily suspending treatment.

Initially, 201 schools were reported damaged with six suspending class, impacting more than 7,000 students. The Taiwanese Education Ministry has reported the damages at approximately 250.3M TWD in damages to schools alone.

As aftershocks and tremors registering up to a 5.0 continued past 0500 EST, major landslides were triggered near Chogde Railway Station on Suhua Highway.

Foreign Reactions and Aid

The Japanese Government was the first foreign power to express condolences, but also provide aid. Prime Minister Kishida made that announcement by 0530 EST. Several high-profile Taiwanese companies and individuals have also announced unilateral aid packages to the people of Hualien County. Hon Hai Precision Industry has donated 80M TWD, Acer has donated 6M TWD, YongLin Foundation Founder Terry Gou has donated 60M TWD, Taishin Financial Holdings has also donated 10M TWD. The Taiwanese government has also allocated 300M TWD for disaster relief and reconstruction efforts.

By 0945 EST, the U.S. White House also made this announcement:

“We are monitoring reports of the earthquake impacting Taiwan and continue to monitor its potential impact on Japan. The United States stands ready to provide any necessary assistance. All those affected are in our prayers.”

As of this publication, there has been no official announcement from the People’s Republic of China. There is expected to be less international response due to the fact that only a handful of faithful nations recognize Taiwan. It will be interesting to see how Foreign Ministries express condolences and send aid without harming their relations with the PRC.

This is developing.

Tessaron
Tessaron
United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

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