At least 2 people dead, more than 100 injured in Taiwan earthquake

TAIPEI, Feb 7 (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck near the coastal city of Hualien in Taiwan late on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said, killing at least two people and causing several buildings to collapse.

The quake struck about 22 kms (14 miles) northeast of Hualien shortly before midnight, and the epicenter was very shallow at just 1km, the USGS said.

"Two people were unfortunately killed, and 114 have suffered light or severe injuries," Taiwan's Premier William Lai told an emergency government meeting.

A number of aftershocks hit the area, but there was no word of any tsunami warning.

RELATED: A look at the Taiwan earthquake

21 PHOTOS
Taiwan Earthquake: scenes from the ground
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Taiwan Earthquake: scenes from the ground
Rescue workers block off the area to search for survivors outside a building which tilted to one side after its foundation collapsed in Hualien after a strong 6.4-magnitude quake rocked eastern Taiwan early on February 7, 2018. The 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the east coast of Taiwan has left two dead and more than 200 injured, the government said on February 7, after buildings crumbled and trapped people inside. / AFP PHOTO / Paul YANG (Photo credit should read PAUL YANG/AFP/Getty Images)
Three British tourists sit outside a collapsed building in Hualien after a strong 6.4-magnitude quake rocked eastern Taiwan early on February 7, 2018. The 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the east coast of Taiwan has left two dead and more than 200 injured, the government said on February 7, after buildings crumbled and trapped people inside. / AFP PHOTO / Paul YANG (Photo credit should read PAUL YANG/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue workers search through rubble outside the Marshal Hotel in Hualien, eastern Taiwan early February 7, 2018, after a strong earthquake struck the island. A hotel on the east coast of Taiwan has collapsed after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, the government said. / AFP PHOTO / STR / Taiwan OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A damaged vehicle stands in rubble outside the Marshal Hotel in Hualien, eastern Taiwan early February 7, 2018, after a strong earthquake struck the island. A hotel on the east coast of Taiwan has collapsed after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, the government said. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL YANG / Taiwan OUT (Photo credit should read PAUL YANG/AFP/Getty Images)
Local residents stay outside their homes in Hualien after a strong 6.4-magnitude quake rocked eastern Taiwan early on February 7, 2018. The 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the east coast of Taiwan has left two dead and more than 200 injured, the government said on February 7, after buildings crumbled and trapped people inside. / AFP PHOTO / Paul YANG (Photo credit should read PAUL YANG/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Rescue workers search through rubble outside the Marshal Hotel in Hualien, eastern Taiwan early February 7, 2018, after a strong earthquake struck the island. A hotel on the east coast of Taiwan has collapsed after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, the government said. / AFP PHOTO / STR / Taiwan OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A fireman works at a collapses building after earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone�Siu
Rescue personnel search a collapses building after an earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone�Siu
Rescue personnel search a collapses building after an earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone�Siu
A damaged building is seen after an earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone�Siu
Rescue personnel search a collapses building after an earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone�Siu
A police officer stands guard outside a damaged building after an earthquake hit Hualien, Taiwan February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone�Siu
Rescue workers check the quake site in Hualien after a strong 6.4-magnitude quake rocked eastern Taiwan early on February 7, 2018. The 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the east coast of Taiwan has left two dead and more than 200 injured, the government said on February 7, after buildings crumbled and trapped people inside. / AFP PHOTO / Paul YANG (Photo credit should read PAUL YANG/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescure workers search the damaged Marshal Hotel in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, early February 7, 2018, after a strong earthquake struck the island. A hotel on the east coast of Taiwan has collapsed after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, the government said. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL YANG / Taiwan OUT (Photo credit should read PAUL YANG/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue workers search through rubble outside the Marshal Hotel in Hualien, eastern Taiwan early February 7, 2018, after a strong earthquake struck the island. A hotel on the east coast of Taiwan has collapsed after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, the government said. / AFP PHOTO / STR / Taiwan OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Two guests are escorted by rescue workers from the damaged Marshal Hotel in Hualien, eastern Taiwan early February 7, 2018, after a strong earthquake struck the island. A hotel on the east coast of Taiwan has collapsed after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, the government said. / AFP PHOTO / YANG JEN-FU / Taiwan OUT (Photo credit should read YANG JEN-FU/AFP/Getty Images)
Costumers escaped from the damaged Marshal Hotel stay outside in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, after a strong quake on February 7, 2018. A hotel on the east coast of Taiwan has collapsed after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, the government said. / AFP PHOTO / YANG JEN-FU (Photo credit should read YANG JEN-FU/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue workers block off the area outside a building which tilted to one side after its foundation collapsed in Hualien after a strong 6.4-magnitude quake rocked eastern Taiwan early on February 7, 2018. The 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the east coast of Taiwan has left two dead and more than 200 injured, the government said on February 7, after buildings crumbled and trapped people inside. / AFP PHOTO / Paul YANG (Photo credit should read PAUL YANG/AFP/Getty Images)
Houses in Hualien after magnitude 6.0 earthquake. #earthquake #PrayForTaiwan #taipei #taiwan https://t.co/FGP4IGP3HG
Emergency services are working to free anyone trapped inside a hotel which collapsed after a shallow 6.4-magnitude… https://t.co/LxcFFVeOea
Photos of latest #Taiwan earthquake shared on Line group chat. Stay safe, everyone!! https://t.co/UmXgXH1YBj https://t.co/4CupAQ49sE
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Hualien is a popular tourist destination on Taiwan's eastern coast and home to about 100,000 people.

"The president has asked the cabinet and related ministries to immediately launch the 'disaster mechanism' and to work at the fastest rate on disaster relief work," President Tsai Ing-wen's office said in a statement.

Lai said the government was urgently repairing a major highway damaged by the quake.

Among the buildings toppled was the Marshal Hotel in Hualien, where three people were trapped inside, the government said.

Four other buildings, including two hotels and a military hospital, also tilted during the quake in Hualien, which is located about 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of the capital, Taipei.

The government said two bridges in the city were either cracked or could not be used due to the quake.

On Sunday an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 struck nearby.

Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China considers part of its territory, is prone to earthquakes.

More than 100 were killed in a quake in southern Taiwan in 2016, and some Taiwanese remain scarred by a 1999 earthquake with 7.6 magnitude whose impact was felt across the island and in which more than 2,000 people died. (Reporting by Jess Macy Yu and Taipei bureau; Editing by Tony Munroe and Gareth Jones)

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