One dead after 5.9-magnitude quake jolts Taiwan; island also bracing itself for rainstorms brought by typhoon

Taiwanese celebrity Annie Yi's home after the earthquake. PHOTOS: ANNIE YI/FACEBOOK
High-rise buildings swayed in the capital Taipei, waking people up from their sleep. PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (AFP, KYODO, AP) - A 5.9-magnitude earthquake that rattled Taiwan on Thursday (Aug 8) killed one woman and caused temporary power outages that affected over 10,000 homes, the authorities said.

Tremors were felt across the island and high-rises in Taipei swayed.

The quake struck at 5.28am at a depth of 10km in north-eastern Yilan county, startling sleeping residents.

A 60-year-old woman was killed outside Taipei after a closet fell on her during the quake, the National Fire Agency said.

More than 10,000 houses around the greater Taipei area and neighbouring Yilan - a popular tourist area - lost power.

Rail authorities suspended some train services in Yilan, affecting thousands of passengers.

Taiwan was already on alert for typhoon Lekima, which is gaining momentum and is expected to buffet the island with powerful winds and heavy rains. The typhoon is forecast to edge towards mainland China on Friday.

"We will continue to monitor if there could be a combined impact from the aftershocks of the earthquake and the approaching typhoon," President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters.

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Television reports showed goods knocked off grocery store shelves during the quake and slight structural damage to buildings.

A temblor was also felt on the Japanese island of Yonaguni, about 110km east of Taiwan, at around the same time, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by quakes.

In April, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit the island, disrupting traffic and injuring 17 people.

Taiwan's worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.

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