Last updated: 10:13 AM ET, Sat February 06 2016

6.4 Earthquake Rocks Taiwan

Impacting Travel | Janeen Christoff | February 06, 2016

6.4 Earthquake Rocks Taiwan

PHOTO: The city of Tainan in Taiwan was rocked by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake Saturday morning, disrupting travel right as the city was set to welcome visitors for the Lunar New Year holiday. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

The death toll has risen to 13 at press time following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that rocked the city of Tainan, Taiwan Saturday morning. Several buildings were toppled by the quake and even more leaned precariously after the shaking ceased.

The earthquake took place on Lunar New Year’s Eve, a peak travel time in the country. Tainan is one of Taiwan’s oldest cities and thousands were headed to the city for the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday celebrations.

The temblor knocked down power lines and rail service was compromised. High-speed rail service was canceled – stranding passengers headed home or to visit loved ones during the holiday.

READ MORE: 10 Reasons We Absolutely Love Taiwan

The damage was more extensive because the quake was shallow, not deep underground. The epicenter was just several miles underground, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and was on the island, not offshore. It was felt as far away as China, which is 100 miles away to the west, across the Taiwan Strait.

"It was not a rolling gentle earthquake, but a violent jerking motion. The walls were shaking and you could hear the building and windows moving," Derek Hoerler, a California native, told the Los Angeles Times, "It lasted at least a minute with swaying afterwards. I felt complete terror.”

Tainan is a city of 1.8 million people and as of this report, more than 300 had been rescued from eight buildings that collapsed during the shaking.

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