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Formosa, Japan Earthquake, Apr 1935

2,471 DIE IN FORMOSA QUAKE THAT WRECKS 6,671 HOMES; ARMY QUICKLY GIVES RELIEF

FIRES RAGE IN THE CITIES

Shock Devastates Two
Provinces — Injured
Total 5,662

DOCTORS WORK IN RUINS

All Available Aid Is Rushed to
Stricken Area and Special
Funds Are Assured

REFUGEES BLOCK ROADS

250,000 Reported Homeless —
80 Per Cent of Victims
Are Chinese

TOKYO, Monday, April 2 — The
most severe earthquake that the
Japanese island of Formosa has
known in modern times devastated
two provinces yesterday, and this
morning the Overseas Department
received a report that the dead
numbered 2,471.
Nearly every hour the official announcements
had added to the total
known to have perished in the disaster,
as well as to the number of
injured and the extent of the damage.
Owing to disruption of transportation
and communications, it
is feared that even now the full extent
of the catastrophe has not
been published.
The Overseas Department message
said that 5,662 were injured and
6,671 homes destroyed in the two
provinces of Taichu and Shinchiku
in the northwest part of the island.
An additional 8,802 houses were
damaged.
Taichu, capital of the province of
that name and a city of 55,000 inhabitants,
suffered most of all,
Shinchiku City reported 854 killed
and 971 injured. Fires are raging
in the city of Taiko, and it is
feared the place will be totally destroyed.
The army is organizing
relief.

Oil Field Suffers Slightly

Reliable estimates of the material
damage are not yet made. The oil
fields, belonging to the Japan Oil
Company, which represented the
greatest risk in wealth, are not reported
as seriously damaged, although
some pipes were broken.
The spectacle of exploding gasoline
from the huge Japanese refinery
there was spared the city of Byoritsu.
As always in these catastrophes
the loss was greatest in what is
cheapest in Asia—human life. The
wrecked houses were mostly built
of compressed mud and will cost
little to replace. Details, which are
still only meager, do not distinguish
the catastrophe from the many
others that preceded it in the Japanese
empire. Easter Sunday is a
working day for Formosa and the
workers' daily life had begun when
the first shock occurred, but the
majority had not left their homes.
The first shock, a stunning one,
came at 6:02 A. M. Houses swayed
and crashed, and the bewildered
survivors staggered into the streets
amid choking clouds of dust from
the dry mud walls. Where fires
broke out they would be left to
burn themselves out, as the fire
brigades were unable to move
through the streets.
A severe second shock occurred
twenty-four minutes after the first.
Fortunately, there were no more
tremors to alarm the people then
streaming to the fields for safety or
frantically trying to extricate the
injured.
While Taichu suffered the greatest
loss of life, the buildings in
Shinchiku Province suffered more,
as the houses there are mud-built
in Chinese style while in Taichu
the light frame house of the Japanese
again proved its value in
quakes.

Shallow Disturbance

The Tokyo observatory asserts the
enormous destruction was due to
the fact that the disturbance was
exceptionally shallow, the seismic
centre being only ten meters under
the surface. The shallowness of the
shock explains the collapse of mountain
tunnels, for in the worse Tokyo
quake of 1923 all arched construction
escaped intact.
Formosa being as subject to
quakes as Japan, relief could be
organized by pressing a button. An
equipped Red Cross corps left Taihoku
yesterday afternoon, while at
Tainan in the south, similar corps
were starting.

April 22, 1935 edition of The New York Times



article | by Dr. Radut