Kiwis in Taiwan describe being trapped on 16th floor of building during earthquake

Kiwis on holiday in Taiwan have described the terror of being trapped on the 16th floor of a building as a magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck the island country. 

Buildings have collapsed in the city of Hualien, where at least four people are dead and dozens are reportedly trapped. At least 50 people have received injuries.  

Miraculously, a group of children emerged seemingly unscathed from one quake-battered building. 

The earthquake struck 18 kilometres south-southeast of Hualien City at 7:58am local time. 

Footage even showed the moment a TV presenter was live as hell broke loose.  

Elsewhere, the earthquake trapped locals in buildings, brought traffic to a standstill and caused landslides. 

Kiwis on the ground spoke with Newshub, where they recounted a sense of dread. 

"Just violent," Delphine Herbert said. "It's the biggest and longest earthquake I have ever felt." 

"That was just next level, and especially being so high up in a building. It was absolutely terrifying." 

Herbert landed in Taiwan on Tuesday night with her partner, and the earthquake is what greeted them in the morning. 

"You're in a foreign country that you've just landed in, you know about earthquakes and we were on the 16th floor of a hotel so it's not, like we could just run outside and get away from the building," she explained. 

"We had to just stay put in the doorways and there were moments when I thought what if the building collapses."  

The pair were supposed to be in Taiwan for three and a half weeks, but now they are not so sure. 

"We're re-thinking those plans now because we don't want to be around earthquakes for the next couple of weeks," Herbert stressed. 

She said some of the places "especially along the coast and in a national park" have been significantly damaged. 

"There's been a lot of damage, a lot of landslides." 

It's not known exactly how many might be trapped, as destroyed buildings litter some of the island's cities. 

The rescue effort is just starting after the strongest earthquake to strike Taiwan in two decades.