4-magnitude natural disaster strikes Taiwan: At least 2 dead, 144 injured

Several high-rise buildings have sustained severe structural damage

Several high-rise buildings have sustained severe structural damage

The 6.1-magnitude natural disaster that hit Taiwan Feb. 4.

Taiwanese Premier William Lai said at least 144 were injured.

The quake follows a 6.1 magnitude quake off the coast of Hualien on the east of Taiwan, which lies along the Pacific Rim of Fire.

The USGS reports that the magnitude 6.4 quake struck 21km north of the city of Hualien at 2:50AM AEDT, at a shallow 9.5km below the surface.

The English-language Taiwan News and the BBC report that a number of buildings have collapsed in Hualien City, including a roof of a hotel.

Emergency services were working to free three people trapped in the toppled Marshal Hotel.

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Gas leaks, blackouts and rockfall were also reported.

Another hotel, known as the Beautiful Life Hotel, is tilting.

Five more buildings including a hospital have also been damaged with roads strewn with rubble, cracks along highways and damaged buildings tilted at angles.

But the quake took down a multi-story building and an official from the Ministry of Interior's fire station division told Reuters that people were trapped. "There are many aftershocks and we are anxious the house is damaged". A handful of employees race out of frame as merchandise is shaken off the shelves and onto the ground. He said the government would provide further updates on the situation later on Wednesday morning.

With a quake of this size there's always the potential for aftershocks. And, he added, these are just the latest in a series of quakes that began last week. Multiple injuries have been reported and rescue workers have been deployed to the scene.

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