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5.9-magnitude quake hits Taiwan

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake jolted Taiwan on Wednesday, shaking buildings in the capital and injuring three schoolchildren, officials said.

TAIPEI: A 5.9-magnitude earthquake jolted Taiwan on Wednesday, shaking buildings in the capital and injuring three schoolchildren, officials said.

The quake struck at 8:21am (0021 GMT) with its epicentre 33.3 kilometres (21 miles) southwest of the eastern city of Hualien, at a depth of 18 kilometres, the Seismology Centre said.

Three children were slightly injured by falling ceiling material during a singing lesson at a school in the southern city of Tainan, education ministry officials said.

The quake, compounded by heavy rain for several days, also triggered landslides which disrupted traffic on four highways in mountainous areas.

The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the earthquake at 5.6, with its epicentre at a depth of 11 kilometres.

Residents on many parts of the island felt the quake, which was followed by two major aftershocks of more than 3.0 magnitude, the Taiwan seismology centre said.

The island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by tremors.

A strong 6.3-magnitude quake which hit central Taiwan in June last year killed four people and caused widespread landslides.

A 7.6-magnitude quake struck the island in September 1999 and killed around 2,400 people.

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