Strong 7.2 magnitude quake rocks Taiwan, tsunami warnings issued

Strong 7.2 magnitude quake rocks Taiwan, tsunami warnings issued
Strong 7.2 magnitude quake rocks Taiwan, tsunami warnings issued

TAIPEI – An earthquake offshore Taiwan with a magnitude of 7.2 rocked Taipei, the capital, on April 9 morning, knocking out power in several parts of the city and sparking a tsunami warning for the islands of southern Japan and the Philippines.

Taiwan television stations showed footage of some collapsed buildings in Hualien, near the quake’s epicenter, and media reported some people were trapped.

The quake could be felt as far as Shanghai, according to a Reuters witness.

The epicenter was just off the coast of eastern county of Hualien, in waters off eastern coastline of Taiwan island, the Taiwan central weather administration said.

Japan issued an evacuation advisory for the coastal areas of the southern prefecture of Okinawa.

“Evacuate!” said a banner on Japanese national broadcaster NHK.

“Tsunami is coming. Please evacuate immediately,” an anchor on NHK said. “Don’t stop. Don’t go back.”

Live TV footage from the Okinawa region’s ports, including Naha, showed vessels heading out to sea, possibly in efforts to protect their ships.

Tsunami waves of up to 3m were expected to reach large areas of Japan’s south-western coast, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which put the quake magnitude at 7.5.

The Philippines Seismology Agency also issued a warning for residents in coastal areas of several provinces, urging them to evacuate to higher ground.

The quake was felt in Fuzhou, Xiamen, Quanzhou and Ningde in China’s Fujian province, according to Chinese state media.

The Taipei city government has not received any reports of damage, and the city’s MRT was up and running soon after.

Southern Taiwan Science Park, where semiconductor giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co has a plant, said companies were operating without impact.

Taiwan’s official central news agency said the quake was the biggest to hit the island since 1999 when a 7.6 magnitude tremor killed around 2,400 people.

Meanwhile, earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas.

Japan accounts for about one-fifth of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

Japan was rocked by its deadliest quake in eight years on New Year’s Day when a 7.6 magnitude temblor struck in Ishikawa prefecture, on the western coast. More than 230 people died in the quake that left 44,000 homes fully or partially destroyed.

On March 11, 2011, the north-east coast was struck by a magnitude 9 earthquake, the strongest quake in Japan on record, and a massive tsunami. Those events triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier. AFP, REUTERS

The article is in Dutch

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