TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ Taiwan's strongest quake in decades jolted the island early Tuesday, killing at least 1,123 people, wrecking a 12-story hotel in Taipei and destroying more than 1,000 homes islandwide, the government said. Some 3,500 people were injured.

With a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, the quake was the strongest to hit Taiwan in a decade and was about the same strength as the devastating tremor that killed more than 15,000 people in Turkey last month.

Most of the victims were found in Taichung and nearby Nantou, located near the epicenter. The foundations of some multi-story apartment blocks in the cities crumpled into piles of concrete boulders, sending the structures crashing into neighboring buildings. Soldiers raced out of buildings with bloodied victims moaning in pain on stretchers.

Nantou County Executive Peng Pai-hsien appealed for donations of bulldozers, cars, quilts and food, saying that 470 people were killed in the county, and 100,000 people were left homeless.

Peng said morgues were full of dead bodies, and the county needed body bags and freezers in the summer heat.

The Interior Ministry's disaster management center reported that 1,123 people were killed and some 3,500 injured. About 1,245 people were trapped and more than 1,000 homes destroyed, the center said.

Several roads were buckled and traffic was disrupted, isolating many remote towns.

Hospitals in towns and cities in central Taiwan were packed with injured people, and television stations urged doctors, nurses and others with medical training to join in the rescue work.