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Strong quake sways buildings in Taiwan, injures 20

Published: Wednesday, March 27 2013 8:22 a.m. MDT

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A strong earthquake struck rural central Taiwan on Wednesday, swaying buildings, sending school children to seek cover and injuring at least 20 people.

The Central Weather Bureau said the magnitude-6.1 earthquake was felt throughout the island. Buildings swayed in the capital Taipei, and sections of the high-speed rail were suspended from service to be inspected for damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey placed the magnitude at 6. The quake's depth was a relatively shallow 15 kilometers (9 miles).

Near the epicenter in Nantou County, a section of a ceiling fell from a government office and injured one worker, officials said. All-together, at least 20 people were injured, mostly by fallen objects, the Fire Department said. A house fire caused by leaking gas was quickly put out, it added.

Nantou government official Chen Min-hui said tiles fell from a few school buildings and minor cracks appeared on walls, but all structures remained intact.

Nantou is a rural county about 250 kilometers (about 155 miles) south of Taipei. It is near the epicenter of a magnitude-7.6 earthquake that killed more than 2,300 people in 1999.

Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan, but most are minor and cause little or no damage.

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