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Panic after powerful quake rocks Taiwan
by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Feb 26, 2012

A shallow 5.9-magnitude earthquake sent panicked people fleeing onto the streets in Taiwan's second-largest city of Kaohsiung on Sunday as rail services were temporarily suspended.

The quake struck 57 kilometres (35 miles) east of the city at 10:34 am (0234 GMT) at a depth of just four kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

The Hong Kong Observatory measured the quake at magnitude 6.0, while Taiwan's Seismology Centre put the magnitude at 6.1.

TV footage showed residents of Kaohsiung running into the streets, fearing their buildings might collapse.

Services on a high-speed railway linking Kaohsiung with Taiwan's capital of Taipei in the north were halted temporarily, railway officials told AFP.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

The greater metropolitan area of Kaohsiung has a population of nearly three million people.

Taiwan is regularly hit by earthquakes as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates.

In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude tremor killed around 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island's recent history.

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