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Taiwan natural disaster: People trapped in Hualien

Rescure workers search the damaged Marshal Hotel in Hualien eastern Taiwan early

A 6.4 magnitude natural disaster struck Tuesday near the coast of Taiwan, shaking and toppling buildings, and leaving several people feared trapped under the rubble of a hotel, according to local reports and postings on social media.

The quake is said to be centered in East China Sea, around 21 kilometers north-northeast of Hualien City.

Maggie Lewis, an American visiting scholar living in Taipei which is two hours away from the epicenter in Hualien City, said people there felt a minor shock.

No tsunami warning has been issued.

A residential complex has also tilted at a 45 degree angle on its axis, while two major bridges have also cracked and are closed due to the damage.

However initial analysis by the US Geological Society (USGS) said there is a 35 per cent chance of fatalities and a 14 per cent chance of at least one million dollars worth of damage.

Cellphone video from Hualien City shows a large building leaning at a unsafe angle as sirens are heard in the background.

Video shows rescuers helping people out of the building.

"Relief measures are underway", Tsai tweeted.

Landslides triggered by the quake closed some vital highways.

An employee at the Park City Hotel down the street told CNN that he felt the quake but there is no damage at his location.

Lewis said she lives on the 12th floor of an apartment complex. "My two children slept through the whole thing".