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Taiwan struck by earthquake

  • April 3, 2024
  • 2 min read
Taiwan struck by earthquake

A major earthquake hit Taiwan in the morning causing buildings to collapse and setting off tsunami warnings as far away as Japan and the Philippines. Seven people were reported dead with dozens more injured by the earthquake, according to officials.

It hit near the eastern city of Hualien at 7:58am local time on Wednesday, 3rd April, with a magnitude of 7.4 according to the US Geological Survey. This makes it the strongest to hit since 1999. It had a depth of around 35 kilometres or 22 miles, which is considered to be quite shallow. Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency estimates a magnitude of 7.2.

Strong shaking had been felt in the capital, Taipei, 100 miles away, as aftershocks were felt for around two hours after the initial quake. People as far away as Shanghai 500 miles to the north, felt it, according to reports from China.

Images on TV showed extensive damage. These included buildings listing to the side after being shaken from their foundations. Authorities suspended work and school in Hualien, an area home to around 300,000 people. Eight power plants were closed down for safety and this left 87,000 residents in Hualien, the “epicentre,” without any power. Electricity remained for the rest of the island.

Taiwan’s transport authorities said that train services would be suspended all over the island including the subway service in Taipei. Videos show rockslides covering houses that were knocked off-kilter.

Tsunami warnings from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JAMA) were lifted later on Wednesday. The Associated Press reported a wave, 30cm or 1 foot wide on the cost of Yonaguni island 15 minutes after the earthquake. JAMA predicts waves hitting the coasts of Miyako and Yaeyama islands. No tsunami warnings were issued in the Philippines but residents in coastal areas are advised to move either inland or to higher ground.

The last earthquake to hit Taiwan with a magnitude of 7 or more, according to Taiwanese media, was on, 21st September, 1999, when the “Jiji” earthquake, measuring 7.3, destroyed thousands of buildings and killing over 2,400 people.

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