On February 6 a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Tainan, a city in southern Taiwan. The quake struck just before 04:00 local time, killing at least 23 people and destroying several buildings. Over 100 people are missing.
First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to all who lost their beloved ones. As I will write in a future post, I recently lost my father, so I know very well how it feels.
In this post I would just like to write a few words about a problem I have noticed in some Taiwanese cities.
One day I was talking with a German guy who lived in Taipei for a year. He was “complaining” that all the earthquakes he had experienced in Taiwan were small. When I said that earthquakes are nothing to laugh about, he argued that buildings in Taipei are earthquake-resistant and there was no reason to be worried even if the earth trembled. Well, I was quite surprised that he thought so, because I have seen loads of buildings in Taipei who look extremely precarious. Here are two examples:
This long and thin building is located in Roosevelt Road, about halfway between National Taiwan University and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
Then there are buildings like these ones:
I have also seen areas full of houses that I can only describe as shacks (I will update this post after I have found those pictures).
I am not an architect and I don’t know if such buildings are earthquake-resistant or not. But considering that Taiwan is an earthquake-prone region, city planners should do something to make sure all buildings are as safe as possible.
In 1999, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake rocked central Taiwan, killing 2,415 people, injuring 11,305, and causing damages worth US$10 billion, I guess that not all big Taiwanese cities are equipped for such major natural disasters.