TAIPEI (TVBS News) — Alarm bells went off on cell phones across the nation at 9:21 in the morning, as today marks the 23rd year since the 921 Jiji Earthquake in Taiwan. At that time, the two Sun brothers were in the collapsed Dong Hsin Building but were miraculously found alive and saved 6 days after the earthquake.
"After around 10 seconds, something collapsed downwards. It was as if a war had begun. They hid next to the refrigerator so they were not smashed to death," said the father of the Sun brothers. Sun Chi Fung and Sun Chi Guang survived six days after the disaster struck. However, more than 2 decades later, earthquakes still invoke fear for the Sun brothers.
The 921 Earthquake of Sept. 21, 1999, struck the Jiji town in Nantou County, southwest of Sun Moon Lake. The tremors sent sound asleep residents into shock at 01:47 a.m. The earthquake measured 7.3 on the Richter scale and had a focal depth of 8 kilometers.
Over 2,400 lives were taken, and over 11,000 people were injured. More than 51,000 buildings were destroyed. The 921 Jiji earthquake cost Taiwan NT$300 billion in damages. It was the second deadliest earthquake in Taiwan's history.
Earthquakes, unfortunately, have been happening more frequently in recent months. And Taiwan experienced a few major earthquakes over the past few weeks. Seismologists have warned that tremors may continue, and citizens must be prepared. Organizations, schools, and families all need an earthquake emergency plan.
That is the meaning of the earthquake drills held today across the country: to remember and to remain vigilant. Taiwan authorities must ensure that emergency communication is clear so that the public will be best prepared for any natural disaster in the future.