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  1. Rupert Wingfield-Hayes

    Reporting from Taiwan

    These people are trapped in tunnels along what is called the Suhua Highway - which runs down the east coast and is one of the most dramatic and treacherous roads in Taiwan.

    It is famous for both its beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and its danger – not least because of its landslides.

    This road was cut through the mountainside and was blasted through using literally dynamite and manual labour, mostly military labour to make that highway through from Yilan to Hualian in the 1930s.

    Before then, there was no road around the north coast of Taiwan to Hualian.

    This 50km (30 miles) stretch of road with a number of tunnels in it, some of them quite long. And it is in two of those tunnels we understand that these tourists are trapped.

    We do not know the condition they are in, whether they're safe, whether they have food and water, whether they're able to contact the outside world or not.

    We also don't know how bad the blockages are and how long it is going to take for rescue teams to get through to them.

    Presumably it might take some time. But, it is a sort of nightmare scenario being on a bus, in a tunnel on a very treacherous piece of road where on one side is a mountain and on the other side is a sheer plunge into the ocean.

    Rescue teams are working to get to them tonight.

    We understand the railway along the east coast of Taiwan is damaged, is being repaired and they are hoping to get that railway through to Hualian and open by lunchtime tomorrow.

    • For the latest on this story click here
  2. It's 19:30 in Hualien City and 12:30 BST in London.

    We're pausing our live coverage shortly, so here's a recap of everything that's happened so far today:

    • Taiwan's been hit by a magnitude 7.4 earthquake, its most powerful in 25 years
    • Nine people are confirmed to have died, at least five were killed by falling rocks say officials
    • 127 people are known to be trapped, including 77 people inside the Jinwen and Qingshui mountain tunnels in Hualien county
    • The earthquake hit Taiwan's east coast, severely affecting infrastructure in the mountainous region Hualien and capital city Taipei
    • The earthquake also caused landslides and left some buildings leaning at precarious angles, causing "extreme conditions" for rescue teams
    • Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen vowed "we will work together" as rescue efforts are ongoing
    • Japan has lifted flight restrictions as concerns about a potential Tsunami subsided, but authorities are still warning locals to remain vigilant
  3. As we have been reporting, at least nine people have been killed and more than 800 injured in the powerful earthquake which struck Taiwan this morning.

    Rescue teams across Taiwan are trying to reach dozens of people trapped in buildings and tunnels.

    We have just received some of the latest images from the scene which show the rescue effort.

  4. Below you can watch footage from inside buildings and across Taiwan as the earthquake struck.

  5. Some of you may have noticed difference in reporting of the exact power the initial earthquake off Taiwan's east coast, which are measured out of 10 on what are known as seismic magnitude scales.

    This discrepancy is because there are differing methods of calculating an earthquake's power and three different figures for this particular incident have been given by major global agencies.

    The BBC is reporting it as reaching a magnitude of 7.4, which is the calculation given by the United States Geological Survey.

    However, Taiwanese authorities say it was a 7.2 magnitude quake, while Japan's method of calculating intensity came out at 7.7.

    Anything above 7 is considered a major earthquake.

    One thing to note is these measures are often incorrectly described as being on the "Richter Scale" - an earlier method of describing the size of earthquakes that has since largely been updated and replaced by scientists.

  6. The earthquake has left destruction in its wake, damaging buildings and infrastructure across the Hualien region on the east coast of Taiwan.

    Below are some pictures of the damage caused by the magnitude 7.4 earthquake.

  7. Film maker, Nga Pham, was in the capital, Taipei, when the earthquake struck on the island's east coast.

    Sharing her experiences, Pham explained she was making coffee when everything started to shake and rattle around her.

    "It was really, really scary," she told the BBC. "I was holding onto my bookcase trying to steady myself because everything else was falling out - the bookcase's books and my glassware and plates etc and I could hear people screaming.

    "They were also frantically looking for information and trying to decide what to do.

    "So it was really, really scary for about five to ten minutes. Actually for me it lasted much longer because inside my head was like - what to do, what to do?

    "Luckily, when everything calmed down and I went outside and I saw that the damage was actually not as bad as expected."

  8. Antoine Rousseaux, witnessed the first waves of the earthquake in the centre of Taipei this morning.

    He was at work on the 9th floor of an office building when it "started to shake really, really hard."

    "It’s not my first earthquake in Taiwan but I’ve never had it done that hard, and then I heard things falling down so I didn’t know what to do, I was like, 'should I run down the stairs?'

    "And then I decided to just go under the table and sit down under the table but the Taiwanese were just standing up and we could see things falling down, it was really confusing.”

    “We are still in a bit of a shocked state because when it happened it was a really strong one, so even the Taiwanese were really scared... I could see they were not used to one with this strength."

    He says he and his colleagues then continued to experience aftershocks every 30 minutes.

  9. Our Asia correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes has sent us this report on the earthquake's impact on the capital Taipei, as well as the hundreds of massive landslides it has caused in the rugged east of the island:

  10. In the initial aftermath of the earthquake, Japanese authorities issued a tsunami advisory for the island chain of Okinawa, as well as ordering people in southwestern Japan to move away from the coast.

    This tsunami warning was lifted shortly afterwards by the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

    Officials are continuing to urge people to remain cautious as the tide level could change, but waves never reached the 3m (9.8ft) height initially expected in some areas.

    The Philippines, which lies to the south of Taiwan, also declared and then subsequently lifted a tsunami alert for its northern coastline.

    Filipino officials say they had cancelled the warning after there were "no significant sea level disturbances" for several hours following the huge quake.

  11. Taiwanese authorities have now confirmed that overall 127 are known to be trapped as a result of the Earthquake.

    Of these, 77 of them are trapped inside the Jinwen and Qingshui tunnels under mountains in Hualien county, fire officials say.

    And as we just reported below, two German citizens are trapped in the Chongde tunnel in Taroko National Park.

    The remaining 50 people are trapped in four minibuses that were travelling from central Hualien City to nearby Taroko national park.

    They are all staff being transported to the Silks Place Taroko hotel, ahead of a four-day long weekend from Thursday to Sunday for two local public holidays.

  12. Let's bring you some news coming out of Europe where officials say two German citizens are trapped in the Chongde Tunnel, which is located in Taroko National Park.

    According to the dpa German news agency, authorities initially did not provide any information about the condition of the two.

    As a reminder, the national park is located north of the city of Hualien, where the earthquake has caused severe damage.

  13. In New Taipei City a factory building has collapsed, according to the local mayor.

    Hou Yu-ih says: "There were 57 people inside.

    "Aside from our immediate evacuation, there were three people trapped inside.

    "The last one was rescued at around 11:57 (03:57BST).

    "As of now, there is only one person injured. The rest of the people in the factory are unharmed."

  14. Some buildings in Hualien City are leaning dangerously.

    An official from the local fire department, Su Ching-hui, says rescuers are facing extreme difficulties, according to the Reuters news agency.

    He says: “Whenever our team moves, the building becomes unstable and they have to find something to hold on to ensure their safety before pulling people out."

  15. The Taiwanese government has given a fresh update to say nine people are now known to have died from the earthquake.

  16. We've put together these graphics to show the impact that the earthquake had on some buildings in Hualien city.

    One has entirely collapsed and dozens more have sustained major structural damage, including two leaning severely:

  17. Taiwan's President has given an update at a news briefing in New Tapei City.

    "At this time when there are frequent aftershocks, the government must ensure the accuracy of information and provide timely assistance to people in need, so that people can feel at ease and safe," Tsai Ing-wen said.

    "We are ready to work together."

    Her comments come as the rescue efforts continue. Some buildings in Hualien City are leaning dangerously and train lines have also been ruptured.

  18. Rupert Wingfield-Hayes

    Asia correspondent in Taipei

    The shaking was strong in the capital Taipei, where I am and this is more than 100km (62 miles) from the epicentre in Hualien on Taiwan's east coast.

    It must have been much, much stronger shaking there - people would have been really terrified by it. Fortunately a lot of people were out on the streets.

    The timing was lucky - it was around 8am, so most people were on their way to work or taking their kids to school, or out running errands.

    We have seen pictures from Hualien of people videoing their morning commute. They are stopped in traffic, watching one building as it started to topple. People were remarkably calm.

    There has obviously been a lot of damage but, so far, thankfully few reports of loss of life or very serious injuries.

  19. More from the Central Emergency Operation Centre press conference, where we've got some details on the people who have died in Hualien county.

    The officials say three hikers were killed by falling rocks on the Dekalun trail, while a truck driver and another person in a private car died from falling debris at the Huide tunnel.

    One person died at a quarry for Taiwan's national cement company, while a construction worker was killed on a nearby highway.

  20. Chiu-yueh Hsu is an office worker at a restaurant and arrived at her desk to start her day when the earthquake hit.

    "I immediately hid under my desk, then tried to walk outside," the 50-year-old told the BBC. "But it was so shaky that I could barely walk.

    "I was really scared, I felt my legs were not in my control anymore and could not walk out. Thanks to my colleagues, they dragged me so we could get out."

    Hsu described a deluge of dust and as she and her colleagues tried to get away from the building they realised another building in front of them had partially collapsed.

    "The ground floor was gone," she adds. "I could see people on higher floors in that building were trying to reach the windows, I don’t know if they have been rescued yet."