Utah students survive earthquake during visit to Taiwan

Apr 4, 2024, 6:33 PM | Updated: 6:59 pm

SALT LAKE CITY— As recovery efforts continue in Taiwan after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake, more Utahns who survived are telling their story.

A group of students who are part of a Chinese immersion program were visiting a cultural site when the quake occurred.

“The earth started shaking, and all of a sudden, students are asking, ‘Is this an earthquake?'” said Amanda Conklin, director of the Su Ma Ma Chinese Club.

Conklin and her students were visiting a Dao temple Wednesday morning in the city of Tainan – several hours from the earthquake’s epicenter – when they felt the ground below them moving. Fortunately, the group was outside in an open space when the shaking started, so there was no risk of anything falling on top of them. None of them were injured.

“The location we were standing … it was actually pretty safe,” Conklin said.

Rescuers in Taiwan search for those missing or stranded after major earthquake kills 10

Conklin, three parents, and eight Utah and Wyoming students – who range in age from elementary school to high school – have been in Taiwan since March 24. Conklin started the Su Ma Ma Chinese Club back in 2015 and has been going to Taiwan at least once a year, allowing students a chance to be immersed in the culture.

“Every time I’m doing it, it’s very meaningful,” she said. “They interact with the native speakers, the local students, and schools.”

A native of Taiwan, Conklin has experienced several earthquakes, but many of her students haven’t.

“They were very nervous,” she said.

Conklin expressed gratitude for everyone back home in Utah who’s been checking up on her and her students. They’ve decided to finish out their trip.

“Tomorrow morning, they are going to take a scuba diving lesson,” she said.

If you would like to help with relief efforts, you can make a donation to the *Taiwan Red Cross.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Utah students survive earthquake during visit to Taiwan