6.4-magnitude earthquake strikes southern Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, causing at least two buildings to collapse.

The Taiwanese news website ET Today reported that two buildings toppled in the southern city of Tainan and that some water and gas utility pipes had ruptured.

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Sirens were wailing as city authorities responded to the quake, the news website said.

The temblor struck about 4 a.m. local time, or 2000 Friday GMT. It was located some 22 miles (36 kilometres) southeast of Yujing, and struck about six miles (10 kilometres) underground, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

It was felt as a lengthy, rolling shake in the capital, Taipei, on the other side of the island. But Taipei was quiet, with no sense of emergency or obvious damage just before dawn.

About two hours after the tremor, Taiwanese television showed live images of a rescue at a partially collapsed building in Tainan. In it, rescue workers operating under the glare of floodlights combed through twisted concrete and metal and encountering people, apparently residents, who appeared dazed but uninjured.

Other footage showed people with their arms around firefighters being helped from the building, and cranes with cherry-pickers on the end being lowered into darkened parts of the structure to look around for survivors. Newscasters said other areas of the city were still being canvassed for possible damage.



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