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Taiwan's strongest earthquake in 25 years kills seven, injures 736

TOKYO, April 3 (KUNA) -- A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 struck off the eastern coast of Taiwan on Wednesday, killing four people and injuring 736, with 77 trapped in tunnels and collapsed buildings, Channel News Asia reported, citing authorities.
The epicenter of the 7:58 a.m. (2358 Tuesday GMT) earthquake, Taiwan's biggest earthquake in 25 years, was located in the Pacific Ocean, 25 km south-southeast of Hualien County Hall, at a depth of 15.5 km, according to the Central Weather Administration's Seismology Center.
The earthquake's intensity, which gauges the actual effect of a seismic event, was highest in Hualien, where it measured a 6+ on Taiwan's 7-tier intensity scale.
A 6+ intensity represents shaking that makes it almost impossible to stand in place and can even throw people into the air.
Fire authorities said about 60 of the roughly 77 trapped were caught in a tunnel just north of Hualien city, with two Germans among those trapped in another tunnel.
"At present the most important thing, the top priority, is to rescue people," said President-elect Lai Ching-te, speaking outside one of the collapsed buildings in Hualien. The rail link to the area was expected to re-open on Thursday, Lai, who is set to take office next month, told reporters.
Aftershocks could still be felt in Taipei, with more than 50 recorded, weather officials said. Most power has been restored after the quake, electricity utility Taiwan Power Co. said, with the island's two nuclear power stations unaffected. The quake was the biggest since one of magnitude 7.6 in 1999 that killed about 2,400 people and damaged or destroyed 50,000 buildings. (pickup previous) mk.gta