Disaster struck as the Lunar New Year approached. A 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Taiwan, outside Hualien, on February 6, 2018. The quake killed 17 and injured dozens. On
CGTN’s Frances Kuo looks back on the disaster and the aftermath.
A surveillance camera captured the power of the first tremors. They were strong enough to throw furniture across a room. Rescuers teetered on the sides of tilted buildings across the city.
For days, rescuers of all kinds, scrambled to reach those trapped, but 17 people would not make it out alive.
A Filipina maid was among the victims, her body pulled out of an apartment building. The bodies of a Canadian couple locked in an embrace were also found in another structure,
The disaster hit just as the Lunar New Year festivities were about to get underway, and many spent what was supposed to be a time of celebration in school gymnasiums and other temporary shelters.
Residents rebuilt, but concerns lingered about the quake’s economic effects on the future, in particular Taiwan’s tourism industry.
“What we worry about is that the impact of an earthquake is not like a typhoon,” Po Huang, a hotel marketing supervisor said. “A typhoon affects tourism and business for three to four days. The impact of an earthquake can last half a year, a year, even longer.”
Some said the quake was a wake-up call to building owners who skirted safety regulations. The government said after the disaster it would require reviews of existing structures and ordered owners to ensure their safety, but some believed the measures are inadequate in the quake-prone area.
“I hope that counties and cities will learn from this to better prepare for future disasters so that we can minimize death tolls,” Fu Kun-Chi, the Head of Hualien County said. “I hope that our current pain will make us stronger in future.”