Major earthquake off the coast of Taiwan, houses collapsed and tsunami alarm for the surrounding area

Major earthquake off the coast of Taiwan, houses collapsed and tsunami alarm for the surrounding area
Major earthquake off the coast of Taiwan, houses collapsed and tsunami alarm for the surrounding area
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A building in Hualien collapsed due to the earthquake. — © AP

Eastern Taiwan was hit by a major earthquake on Wednesday morning (local time). There have been no reports of casualties yet, but buildings in the city of Hualien are said to have collapsed.

Landslides are said to have occurred in several places due to the earthquake. Social media shows images of several buildings in the city of Hualien that have collapsed. A few appear to be leaning dangerously.

There are reports of people trapped in damaged buildings. Cars are also said to have been buried under the rubble. Hualien is located about 200 kilometers south of the capital Taipei. About 100,000 people live there.

According to Japan’s 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 epicenter was in the sea, about 25 kilometers southeast of Hualien.

JMA reports the quake had a magnitude of 7.5, while the US Seismological Institute (USGS) said it had a magnitude of 7.4 and the Taiwan Meteorological Agency said it had a magnitude of 7.2. It would be the strongest earthquake in Taiwan in 25 years.

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 article is in Dutch

Tags: Major earthquake coast Taiwan houses collapsed tsunami alarm surrounding area

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