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Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills at least 9

When things started toppling, Lima said, she and her husband jumped to their feet and ran for the nearest doorway.

“Even there in a doorway on the second floor, we could barely keep our balance, you know, holding both sides of the doorway,” she said. “And all around us things were falling off the walls and off shelves, smashing and crashing everywhere.”

The damage was concentrated in the eastern Taiwan county of Hualien, near the quake’s epicenter, where officials said they were working to free 131 people who were trapped including 64 in one rock quarry.

Meanwhile, authorities said they had lost contact with 50 people in minibuses in the national park after the quake downed phone networks.

Video on social media showed a building in Hualien that appeared to be nine stories tall partially collapsed and left standing at an angle. Another, appearing to have five floors, was similarly situated.

Jason Delickta, an American living in nearby Meilun, said that as soon as he cleaned up at home, he headed over to his restaurant in Hualien, the Salt Lick Smokehouse & Grill, where the damage was “quite a bit worse.”

“We lost most of our plates, because they’re all on top of the line, and so they all were shaking and fell off,” he said. “We lost a lot of liquor bottles, beer bottles, glasses, things like that.”

Delickta had been expecting an influx of visitors this weekend, a four-day holiday in Taiwan for a traditional Chinese festival known as Tomb-Sweeping Day when people honor their ancestors. But with the earthquake having disrupted rail services and damaging the main road into Hualien, he said, there’s no easy way to get there at the moment.

“The damage to our restaurant wasn’t so bad, but the economic damage for this town will be — it’ll be more because of the loss of revenue,” said Delickta, who was also in Hualien in 2018 when a 6.4-magnitude earthquake killed 17 people.

The earthquake on Wednesday was felt in all parts of Taiwan, the Central News Agency reported. Metro systems in Taipei, the capital, as well as the cities of Taichung and Kaohsiung, were suspended before mostly resuming, the agency said.

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