A strong earthquake jolted Taiwan on Sunday, killing one person and injuring at least 18 others and causing panicked shoppers to rush out of a shaking multi-storey department store, officials said.

Another earthquake jolted the southern Philippines late Saturday, injuring at least 33 people and damaging more than 140 houses.

The tremor that hit Taiwan on Sunday afternoon was felt all over the island, but most severely in the central and southern regions. The quake’s epicentre was near Jenai township in Nantou County in central Taiwan, about 250 km south of Taipei, the Central Weather Bureau said.

In Mountain Ali in the southern part of the island, a person was killed by a rockslide while driving a car on a mountain road, the Taiwan Fire Agency said in a statement.

Rockslides at a scenic mountainous area near the epicentre injured several people, the agency said. In all, 18 people were injured by the earthquake, many by fallen objects.

The Central Weather Bureau said the tremor had a relatively shallow depth of 10 km. The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude at 6.5.

Households elsewhere in central Taiwan reported cracks on the walls or ceilings falling, the reports said.

Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan, but most are minor and cause little or no damage. Nantou is near the epicentre of a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck Taiwan in 1999 and killed more than 2,300 people.

In the southern Philippines, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake rattled North Cotabato province and nearby areas on Saturday as people slept, damaging more than 30 houses and setting off a landslide that partially blocked a road with boulders, officials said. 33 people, including children were injured.

The quake also damaged the approach to a bridge and water supply pipes in two villages, North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Tolentino-Mendoza said.

It damaged a school in the hilly village of Kimadzil, where many residents remained jittery Sunday because of continuing aftershocks, said Ms. Mendoza, who added that she scrambled out of her home like other villagers when the ground started to shake and objects fell from shelves.

“It’s a big relief that no motorist was passing through our highway when boulders rolled down from the mountainside,” she said.

The Philippine archipelago is located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common. A 7.7-magnitude quake killed nearly 2,000 people on the northern island of Luzon in 1990.


Death toll in Philippines quake jumps to 93 October 15, 2013

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