Missionaries Reported Safe Following Taiwan Earthquake

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 18 April 2019

Missionaries were reported safe and accounted for in Taiwan following a magnitude 6.1 earthquake on Thursday near the coastal city of Hualien.

Seventeen people were injured across the island nation, including a pair of hikers in the Taroko Gorge National Park who were hit by falling rocks triggered by the shaking.

The quake began around 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, and shook the populous capital city of Taipei, located about 100 miles from the epicenter, according to AccuWeather.

Structural damage in some buildings prompted evacuations, and children were taken out of schools that were thought could be compromised. Meanwhile, high-speed rail service between Taipei and Taoyuan was temporarily suspended.

Sister Shelley Peterson, who serves in the Taiwan Taipei Mission with her husband, President Michael Peterson, wrote on a mission Facebook page that she was feeling “a little rattled” before adding, “But all is well.”

“I’ve been in many earthquakes as a California resident, but this one was a topper,” she wrote. “We are grateful all are safe.”

Sister Peterson added that some of the missionaries who were finishing their missions and returning home the next day were on the top floor of the 1,671-foot Taipei 101 skyscraper when the earthquake struck.

“All just returned and now have a great story to tell,” she said.

Taiwan is a seismic country where earthquakes are fairly common. A February 6, 2018, temblor—which was also centered in Hualien—claimed 17 lives and injured hundreds of others.

Missionaries in Hualien fled their apartments and found shelter at a local Latter-day Saint meetinghouse and were sustained with provisions from their 72-hour kits.

A massive quake in 1999 rattled the entire island and killed more than 2,000 people.