A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck Hualien early on Feb. 7, the first with a magnitude above 5 so far this year. It was followed by two aftershocks. The Seismological Center says earthquakes frequently occur in the region and it has not detected any abnormalities.
A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck off of Hualien at 4:20 a.m. on Feb. 7. It had an intensity of 4 in Hualien County and Yilan County, and was felt in 16 cities and counties. It was followed by two aftershocks over the next two hours, but their magnitude was under 4.
Chiu Chun-ta, Section Chief, Seismological Center: “After the magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck, there were two more earthquakes with a magnitude of three or so. We haven't detected any more earthquakes that could be felt since then. This area has always been an active seismic zone.”
A powerful earthquake struck Turkey on Feb. 6 Taiwan time. Is the world entering an active period for earthquakes? The Central Weather Bureau said Taiwan did see more frequent earthquakes last year, but earthquakes can't be predicted and at present the only way to respond is through the rapid reporting system. Experts say Taiwan is located in an active seismic zone and the government needs to convene experts to discuss and formulate disaster prevention strategies for each region, as well as estimate damages and other possible scenarios based on earthquake magnitude and intensity.
Shan Hsin-yu, Supervisor, Taiwan Assoc. of Disaster Prevention Industry: “The best thing to do in the initial stage is to deal with buildings or structures themselves. After that, you can evaluate whether our current earthquake resistance code is too stringent or sufficient, or insufficient.”
Experts say earthquakes are like other natural disasters in that risk management can be used to reduce damages. The central government has disaster prevention evaluations for the greater Taipei area's Shanjiao Fault and the south's Zhongzhou Structure, but they are only for firefighters to use as reference. Experts say information and regulations should be made public so that industries can use them.