At 03:57 local time (19:57 UTC) on 6 February 2016, an earthquake with a moment magnitude of 6.4 struck 28 km (17 mi) north-east of Pingtung in southern Taiwan, in Meinong District of Kaohsiung. The earthquake struck at a depth of around 23 km (14 mi), with the earthquake having a maximum intensity of VII (Very strong) on the Mercalli scale. Five aftershocks occurred.
The worst affected city was Tainan, where numerous buildings reportedly collapsed, including at least one residential building, with warnings that there may be hundreds of people trapped in collapsed buildings. Seven people have been reported killed and 403 injured; 245 people have been reported as having been rescued.
Taiwan Power Company initially reported 168,000 households experiencing power outage after the quake, but since then have restored the electricity to most of the houses. Taiwan High Speed Rail cancelled all of train service between Taichung Station and Zuoying Station starting Saturday due to the damage of the train power systems and extensive damage to its tracks north of Tainan.
The Ministry of the Interior immediately set up the Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) shortly after 4 a.m. once the earthquake had occurred. From the CEOC, President Ma Ying-jeou coordinated the rescue efforts and is expected to head to Tainan. Tainan Mayor William Lai also set up emergency response minutes after the quake. Premier Chang San-cheng has cancelled his original itinerary and is expected to head to Tainan as well.
Ministry of National Defense confirmed that army units were dispatched for the rescue efforts consisting of 400 personnel. The Army Command Headquarters sent two helicopters to survey the damaged areas. Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital dispatched 30 medical personnel to Tainan. Armed Forces Chief of the General Staff Yen Teh-fa will be stationed at the joint military operations command center to oversee the rescue efforts. A total of 1,200 beds in four locations have been prepared by the military for people who lost their homes due to the earthquake.