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Taiwan earthquake disrupts power and rail

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The earthquake shook buildings across Taiwan

An earthquake in southern Taiwan has disrupted power supplies in the capital, Taipei and caused the high speed rail service to be suspended.

There have been no reported deaths but several injuries from falling objects.

The US Geological Survey said the 6.4 magnitude quake hit about 70 km (43.5 miles) from southern Kaohsiung city.

Four years ago a 6.7 magnitude quake in the area severed undersea cables and disrupted telephone and Internet service throughout Asia.

Several fires broke out after the latest quake, including one in a textile factory in the southern city of Tainan, which sent out huge clouds of smoke and stalled lifts.

Services on the southern half of Taiwan's high-speed rail linking Taipei with the south were stopped pending safety checks. Subway service in the city of Kaohsiung was temporarily disrupted.

Power outages hit Taipei and at least one county to the south, and telephone service in some parts of Taiwan was patchy.

Buildings swayed in the capital when the quake struck.

Shaking

The quake's epicentre was near the town of Jiashian, in the same area where the devastating typhoon Morakot struck last August.

A Kaohsiung county official told local television that some temporary housing in the town collapsed as a result of the quake.

Troops were sent to the area to check on the extent of damage and casualties, and local reports suggested several people were injured by falling objects.

"It felt like the buildings were going to collapse," Chen Pei-chi, a teacher in Shiaolin Elementary School in a village close to the epicentre told AFP news agency.

"I tried to get out, but my legs failed me because I was so frightened. Many children were screaming while they were running out of the classrooms."

Taiwan is often rattled by earthquakes. A 7.6-magnitude quake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed more than 2,300 people.



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