Taiwan: Many trapped as country got hit by biggest earthquake in 25 years.
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Taiwan: Many trapped as country got hit by biggest earthquake in 25 years.

Earthquake monitoring agency in Taiwan said this morning's quake was magnitude 7.2, while the US Geological Survey put it at 7.4 and Japan's meteorological agency put it at 7.7.

Nine people have died and at least 1,011 have been injured after the quake struck in eastern Taiwan's Hualien County during morning rush hour at 7.58am local time (12.58am UK time), Taiwan's National Fire Agency (NFA) has said.

United Daily News in the country reported three hikers died in rockslides in Taroko National Park and a van driver died in the same area after boulders hit the vehicle.

Meanwhile, 137 people are trapped - including 50 hotel staff who were travelling in four minibuses in the national park. The authorities said earlier they had lost contact with those trapped in the minibuses after the quake downed phone networks.

Another 70 are trapped in a mining area in the Heping district in northern central Taiwan, while another six are stranded in a mining area in the Zhonghe district southwest of the capital Taipei, according to the NFA.

A further 11 people are trapped on the Taiwan provincial highway.

It comes after 77 people who were trapped underground in the Dachingshui and Jinwen tunnels in Hualien County were rescued.

Rescue efforts have since continued well into the night after the quake and aftershocks caused 24 landslides and damage to 35 roads, bridges and tunnels.

A five-storey building in Hualien was heavily damaged. The first floor collapsed, leaving the rest leaning at a 45-degree angle.

Traffic along the east coast was brought to a virtual standstill, with landslides and falling debris hitting tunnels and highways in the mountainous region.

Taiwan's worst quake in recent years struck in 1999, with a magnitude of 7.7, causing 2,400 deaths, injuring around 100,000 and destroying thousands of buildings.

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