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Taiwan’s Strongest Earthquake in 25 Years Kills 9 and Injures Hundreds

The first quake was alarming enough — a rumble more powerful than anything felt in Taiwan for a quarter-century, lasting for more than a minute on Wednesday morning, knocking belongings and even whole buildings askew. It was so strong it set off tsunami warnings in Japan, China and the Philippines.

But then, even in a fault-riddled place with long and hard experience with earthquakes, the jolt of aftershock after aftershock was startling, continuing every few minutes throughout the day.

The magnitude-7.4 quake killed nine and injured at least 1,011 others, stretching an expert quake response system that has served as a model in other places. In Hualien County, close to the epicenter, 71 people were trapped in two mining areas as of Wednesday night and dozens of others were stranded, according to officials. Forty flights were canceled or delayed. Around 14,000 households were without water, and 1,000 households were without power.

By late Wednesday evening, 201 aftershocks had been reported, many over magnitude 5. With rain expected in the coming days, authorities warned of possible landslides.

“I was sleeping at home when the shaking started, and it kept shaking and shaking for so long,” said Chen Hsing-yun, a 26-year-old resident of Hualien who was with her 2-year-old child and her parents in a third-story apartment when the quake struck. “After the main earthquake stopped I went downstairs with my baby — but then the tremors kept coming all day.”