Friday 28 August 2015

Earthquake museum, Taiwan

Just back from Taiwan where I visited the fascinating, disturbing 921 Earthquake Museum. The museum is built around the remains of Kuang-Fu Junior High School in Wufeng, where buildings collapsed and sports fields buckled, when the 7.3 force quake struck on September 21, 1999.

Fortunately, it was at about a quarter to two in the morning, so there were no pupils in the school, but across the island the disaster killed more than 2,400 people, and destroyed more than 50,000 homes.

The museum is designed to ensure the tragedy is not forgotten, and to help stimulate research on earthquakes and on disaster relief, and more than a million people have visited it since it opened in 2004. One room with a shaking floor simulates the terrifying experience of being caught in a quake.

The deadliest earthquake in Taiwan's history is believed to be the one that hit the Hsinchu and Taichung areas on 21 April, 1935, killing more than 3,270 people.

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