Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Earthquake Day!

I'm just quietly sitting here doing homework, and my whole room starts to shake, and it keeps on shaking, much more than what I normally feel. I fire off a message to Kayun, "Wow, big earthquake!" She replies, "Thought I was going to die, still feels like it's shaking." About five minutes later, along comes another one. This time I get a call from Kayun. She's kinda freaked, because she's on the 11th floor and feeling it much more than I am. I just checked the website, but all they have listed now is the one that happened earlier today in Taitung, down to the southeast. It wasn't very big, just 4.6.

Just got the update on the website. The one I felt at 8:26 p.m was in the ocean off the very farthest southern tip of Taiwan, in Hengchun. It was 6.7 magnitude (and some reports say 7.2) and was felt in just about every part of the island, which is not usual. The second one, at 8:34 p.m., was very close to Kaohsiung, also at the southern tip of Taiwan, and it was 6.4. That one wasn't felt as strongly up here in the Taipei area, but enough to make us take notice! From what folks are posting on the message board, it hit pretty hard in Kaohsiung, even knocking out cell phone service.

Wednesday morning update: Five quakes in all yesterday, four of them last night and in the south and one in the afternoon on the east coast. The two later ones in the south didn't shake the north, being at 5.2 and 5.5. I've only been able to access Yahoo! news, nothing written locally yet, but at least one person died in Pingtung when the house collapsed. Sounds as if there was extensive damage in that area and a lot of fires, disruption of phone service, etc. Not a very nice Christmas gift for folks here. At least the feared tsunami heading for the Philippines faded out before causing even more damage.

Taiwan is a very small island, but the quakes were still about 260 miles away from me. Feeling that much shake here makes me really glad I wasn't anywhere near the epicenter. I was very happy to hear from Sharrie that she and her family were OK (she lives in Pingtung).

Wednesday afternoon update: At 10:30 a.m. today another 5.9 quake hit, 42km west of Pingtung, out in the ocean. The Taipei Times reports about last night's quakes: Phone lines and power were cut in many areas of southern Taiwan. At press time, reports were filtering in detailing the damage and TV footage showed rescue workers attempting to locate people suspected to have been buried in rubble. The quakes knocked down two apartment buildings in Hengchun, burying 11 people in the rubble. At press time, the body of a man had been recovered and four people rescued, while six people were still trapped. One of the reactors at the nearby Third Nuclear Power Plant was briefly shut down because of a malfunction, apparently in connection with the earthquake. Cracks in the Kaoping Bridge -- which connects Kaohsiung and Pingtung cities and is part of a major transport artery -- appeared in the wake of the earthquakes, sparking concerns of another collapse of the structure. The bridge collapsed in 2000, injuring 22 people, because of poor maintenance.


Ranger Steve said...

I've been reading about this. Based on articles, I was surprised to see that you had internet access. The news articles made it seem like the bulk of phone/internet connections were out. Glad to see you are safe :)

Cris said...

Good thing you are a survivor by nature. Hope all is well and your Christmas party was smashing, not smashed. Happy American New Year.

aetherwellen said...

Holy crap! I haven't been watching the news, so I had no idea. I'm glad you're ok. Sounds like it was a pretty serious quake.