Taiwan earthquake cracks walls and shatters memories for one family
Taiwan earthquake cracks walls and shatters memories for one family
Taiwan earthquake cracks walls and shatters memories for one family
by DZRH News04 April 2024
Linda Chen, 48, walks near the damaged walls with marks tracking her son's height over time, while collecting valuables from her apartment following the earthquake, in Hualien, Taiwan April 4, 2024. REUTERS/Fabian Hamacher

By Fabian Hamacher and Yimou Lee

HUALIEN, Taiwan (Reuters) - Linda Chen looked wistfully around her apartment in Taiwan's eastern city of Hualien, which her family believes is now too dangerous to live in after it was hit by an earthquake of magnitude 7.2.

Wednesday's quake, which left cracks in the walls of Chen's home big enough to allow glimpses of other rooms, will be the second forcing the family to move after their previous apartment was severely damaged by a 6.4-magnitude event in 2018.

Sorting through the mess hours later, Chen, 48, suddenly encountered some marks on a wall that tracked changes in her son's height as he grew up.


"I saw how this spot was damaged and felt really sad. I was thinking how ... the memories seemed to be destroyed all of a sudden," she told Reuters.

"I really felt helpless," she added, recounting her response when her son mentioned the destruction as he said, "Mum, you see, this spot was destroyed."

The quake killed nine people, but caused little major damage in most of Hualien, which shares its name with the surrounding county, thronged by tourists keen on its mountains and rural scenes.

But Chen was not so fortunate with her own apartment.


Her husband, Chen Chin-ming, a 49-year-old policeman, said he felt a sense of personal failure because he could not ensure a safe place for his family to live.

"I feel sad and stressed," he added. "There is a lot of pressure in my heart in this situation and I am afraid that my son and wife will have to live in a place of fear."

The couple's son, Chen Le-chi, said he did not dare to spend too long in their old home.

"It feels like it's about to fall after the next quake, and the walls are all cracked," said the high school student. "Too outrageous, too serious."


(Reporting by Yimou Lee and Fabian Hamacher; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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