Written by: Pheel Wang
Translated by: H.B. Qin
Edited by: Adriana DiBenedetto
At 2:44 PM on Sunday, September 18, 2022, a frightening 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chishang, Taitung, in southeastern Taiwan. The powerful tremors caused buildings and bridges to collapse, and landslides occurred in mountainous areas, bringing about further damage. Tragedies were reported across Taiwan. As of 6:00 AM, September 19, the earthshaking disaster caused one death and 146 injuries, while aftershocks continued.
A three-story building, a primary school, and two bridges in the Huadong area had collapsed. An express train derailed in Hualien’s Dongli Station, and rockfalls blocked roads in the mountains, temporarily trapping 700 people.
Within fifteen minutes after the earthquake, Tzu Chi volunteers in Hualien had launched a “9.18 Earthquake Disaster Prevention Command Center” to monitor the situation, and mobilize both human resources and supplies.
Hot food and beverages were organized in the Jing Si Hall located in hard-hit Yuli, Hualien. Two of Tzu Chi’s medical facilities in Hualien activated emergency medical response to provide relief to impacted areas, as volunteers were dispatched to accompany those who had been injured.
Emergency funds, as well as beds and blankets, were provided to temporary shelters aiding residents as the aftermath of this disaster slowly subsided.
Tzu Chi sets up a disaster prevention command center to monitor the disaster and gather relief supplies. Photo/Courtesy of Tzu Chi Foundation
With night fallen, relief workers and the military continued to try to aid the situation on blocked roads. Tzu Chi mobilized vegetable food trucks to provide hot food in the middle of the night without interruption, and also provided comfort to the people who had just been rescued from the mountains, hoping to give the survivors peace of mind after the harrowing experience.
Tzu Chi prepares beds and eco-blankets for survivors. Photo/Courtesy of Tzu Chi Foundation