Deadly quake strikes Taiwan's east coast

A map showing the location of the earthquake and the approximate shaking it would have caused

A map showing the location of the earthquake and the approximate shaking it would have caused. Source USGS

Buildings have been toppled in the city of Hualien, according to local media reports.

Raw video: Magnitude 6.4 quake strikes Taiwan.

Floors one through three of the Marshal Hotel have been completely flattened, with two employees who were on the first floor yet to be accounted for.

A residential complex has also tilted at a 45 degree angle on its axis, while two major bridges have also cracked and are closed due to the damage. The lower floors are crushed. "There is one bulldozer and about 50 rescuers on the scene", he said.

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. People were requested to move on to the safer place.

Photos on Apple Daily showed a man calling for help from the window of an apartment block and a ceiling collapse at a local hospital.

Several high-rise buildings have sustained severe structural damage.

Efforts to rescue people trapped inside is underway.

Multiple, strong aftershocks rattled the area, keeping residents and emergency officials on edge. Taiwan is prone to earthquakes and has felt a few in recent days, including magnitude 5.3 and 6.1 quakes on Sunday.

"The quake is so big".

"All the roads were like cracked and coming up", she said.

Five people were charged over the disaster, including the developer and two architects, with prosecutors saying they "cut corners" that affected the building's structural integrity. Taiwan sits near a junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes. However, a magnitude-7.6 quake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed more than 2,300 people.

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