30 people reportedly trapped in hotel after natural disaster hits Taiwan

The Gangneung Ice Arena is illuminated at night prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung South Korea Tuesday Feb. 6 2018

A magnitude 6.4 quake has struck near the coast of Taiwan, killing two employees of a hotel that toppled and injuring more than 200 other people.

The Central Weather Bureau said the quake's epicenter was 18.3km northeast of Hualien County Hall, a depth of 10km.

The hotel that collapsed is located in the coastal city of Hualien.

A hotel and a residential block were the worst hit by the quake in the port city of Hualien, according to the national fire agency. Nearly all of the deaths were caused by a collapsed residential building, named Weiguan Jinlong in Yongkang District, except two others, who were killed in Guiren District.

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One Facebook livestream showed rescuers at the foot of the darkened Marshal Hotel building and a crane carrying them up to the higher floors, which were leaning at an angle. At least three people remain trapped.

The Hualien Shangxiao Road Community Apartment suffered severe damage and was tilted 45 degrees, the first and second floors nearly completely crushed, Taiwan News reported.

Emily Clarke and friends were staying at a hostel in an area just out of Hualien when the quake struck this morning about 11.50pm local time (4.50am NZT).

Some roads were also damaged. Tremors were also felt in far-off cities, local media reported.

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Last night's quake follows one over the weekend off the coast of Hualien on the east of Taiwan, which lies along "Pacific Rim of Fire" known for seismic activity from Alaska to Southeast Asia.

This is the second earthqake in the area withing several days, with the previous one, nearly the same strong 6.1 magnitude, shaking the east coast 17 km (10 miles) northeast of Hua-lien.

There are now 80 New Zealanders registered on SafeTravel as being in Taiwan.

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