Tsunami alarm in Japan, Taiwan and Philippines after major earthquake

Tsunami alarm in Japan, Taiwan and Philippines after major earthquake
Tsunami alarm in Japan, Taiwan and Philippines after major earthquake
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According to the Japanese meteorological agency JMA, the earthquake occurred at just before 8 a.m. in Taiwan and at just before 9 a.m. in Japan (2 a.m. Belgian time).

“The earthquake was close to the coast and not deep,” Taipei Seismology Center director Wu Chien-fu told the press. “It was felt throughout Taiwan and neighboring islands. It is the strongest earthquake in 25 years, since the 1999 earthquake.” In September of that year, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 killed 2,400.

The earthquake occurred at a depth of 15.5 kilometers. The Taiwan Meteorological Agency said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.2. The Japan Meteorological Agency reported a magnitude of 7.5, while the US Seismological Institute (USGS) said it was 7.4.

Buildings have collapsed or been damaged in the Taiwanese city of Hualien. According to local media, people are trapped inside. The earthquake was also clearly felt in the capital Taipei, according to eyewitnesses.

Public transport has been shut down in various places on the island with 23 million inhabitants. Nearly 10,000 families are without power and the internet is interrupted.

Tsunami alarms

The JMA declared a tsunami alert for the Okinawa Islands, in southwestern Japan. Waves of 3 meters or higher are possible in Okinawa, public broadcaster NHK said. “Evacuate to higher ground, do not return,” said a presenter from the channel.

Kyodo news agency already reported a tsunami of 30 centimeters near Yonaguni island, in the south of the country, and the waves also reached Ishigaki island.

Taiwan also declared a tsunami alert after the earthquake on the east coast of the island. “The earthquake could cause a tsunami that could hit Taiwan. A tsunami alert has been declared to urge residents of coastal zones to exercise caution,” reads a warning message sent by the government to the Taiwanese.

There are also warnings about tsunamis in the Philippines. “Coastal areas in the Philippines on the Pacific Ocean are expected to experience high tsunami waves. It is strongly recommended that residents of the coastal municipalities in these provinces immediately evacuate to higher areas or move more inland,” said an advice from the national seismological institute for 23 provinces. “The first tsunami waves are forecast to arrive between 8:33 am and 10:33 am. They may not be the largest and these waves can last for hours.”

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