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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 December 2006, 07:44 GMT
Asia communications hit by quake
Rescue workers in Pingtung county in Taiwan
The quake was felt across Taiwan
Telecommunications across Asia have been severely disrupted because of damage to undersea cables caused by Tuesday's earthquake near Taiwan.

Banks and businesses in Taiwan, South Korea, China and Japan reported telephone and internet problems.

The earthquake, a magnitude 7.1 according to the US Geological Survey, struck off Taiwan's southern coast

Two people were killed and at least 42 injured in the temblor, which shook buildings across the island.

The earthquake took place at 2026 (1226 GMT) south-west of Hengchun. It was followed by a number of aftershocks.

Japan's Meteorological Agency had warned of a possible localised tsunami heading towards the Philippines, but nothing was later reported.

'Seriously affected'

Taiwan's largest telephone company, Chunghwa Telecom Co, said damage to an undersea cable had disrupted 98% of Taiwan's communications with Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.

Repairs could take three weeks, Vice-General Manager Lin Jen-hung said, but quality would improve daily.

Map

Telecommunications companies in Hong Kong, Japan and China also reported problems.

China's biggest telecoms provider, China Telecommunications Group, said that communications cables to the US and to Europe had been damaged.

"Internet connections have been seriously affected, and phone links and dedicated business lines have also been affected to some degree," it said.

In South Korea, broadband provider KT Corp said six submarine cables had been affected, interrupting services to customers including banks.

Some foreign exchange trading was reportedly affected.

"Trading of the Korean won has mostly halted due to the communication problem," a dealer at one South Korean domestic bank told Reuters news agency.

Several companies have warned of slow internet access over the next few days.

In Taiwan, rescue workers were searching through rubble for people injured in the earthquake.

Two members of a family died in Hengchun when their house collapsed, Taiwanese officials said

The earthquake came on the second anniversary of the Asian tsunami, which claimed almost 250,000 lives.




SEE ALSO
Strong quake strikes off Taiwan
26 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific

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