At Least 2 Dead After Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake Hits Taiwan – Huffington Post

SEVERAL BUILDINGS DAMAGED

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, speaking to reporters in the capital before leaving for the disaster scene, said authorities were not clear on the extent of the disaster.

“The disaster situation is not very clear yet. We will do our utmost to rescue and secure (survivors),” Ma said.

The quake initially cut power to 168,000 households in Tainan, many of whose residents lived through a massive 1999 tremor that killed about 2,400 people. Later, utility Taipower said power had been restored to all but about 900 households.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) (2330.TW), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said some of its wafers made in Tainan had been damaged and some customers might be affected. It did not say which customers.

TSMC will step up production to make up for any delayed shipments, spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun said. The company is a major supplier to global smartphone firms, including Apple Inc (AAPL.O) .

Taiwan lies in the seismically active “Pacific Ring of Fire”. Television quoted Tainan residents as saying the quake felt worse than the 1999 tremor, centered in central Taiwan.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, which in is charge of Beijing’s relations with the self-ruled island, said China was willing to provide help if needed, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said. Beijing regards Taiwan as a wayward province.

Taiwan’s Formosa TV said its reporters could hear the cries of people trapped inside the collapsed apartment tower as firefighters, police and troops swarmed the area. The defence ministry said 810 soldiers had been mobilized for rescue efforts.

Firefighters hosed down part of the building to prevent a fire while others used ladders and a crane to enter upper floors. The building appeared to have collapsed onto the first story where a child’s clothes fluttered on a laundry line.

Some bullet train services were suspended to the south of Taiwan as inspections were carried out on the tracks for damage, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp said in a statement.

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