Magnitude 6.0 quake jolts eastern Taiwan

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a ceremony in tribute to slain French prefect Claude Erignac who was shot dead on the island 20 years ago by pro-independence activists in Ajaccio on the French island of Corsica Tuesday Feb

The Taiwan government reported a hotel building collapsed in the city of Hua-lien as a result of the quake that shook the city earlier.

The largest quake so far was reported at 11:50 p.m. Tuesday night local time, registered at magnitude 6.4 by the United States Geological Survey.

Several road were extensively damaged.

Taiwan's official Central News Agency reported that the ground floor of the Marshal Hotel, a building in Hualien district, had caved in and people were believed to be trapped inside.

U.S. geologists said it was the latest in a string of quakes to hit the region in recent days.

Two bridges in Hualien City were damaged and sealed off from the public.

Many buildings have collapsed or tilted in Hualien City.

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Tuesday's natural disaster also comes two years after another 6.4 magnitude quake struck southern Taiwan, killing 116 people.

Emergency services are working to free people who are trapped, the reports say. Nearly all of the deaths were caused by a collapsed residential building, named Weiguan Jinlong in Yongkang District, except two others, who were killed in Guiren District.

The USGS reports that the magnitude 6.4 quake struck 21km north of the city of Hualien at 2:50AM AEDT, at a shallow 9.5km below the surface.

Most of the death toll from the February 2016 natural disaster was from the 16-storey Wei-kuan apartment complex, which toppled on its side with many of its residents buried in the rubble.

Gas leaks, blackouts and rockfall were also reported.

Hualien is one of Taiwan's most popular tourist hubs as it lies on the picturesque east coast rail line and is near to popular Taroko Gorge.

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