Worst earthquake in 25 years in Taiwan: at least 4 dead and dozens injured


According to the director of the Taipei Seismology Center, Wu Chien-fu, it is “the strongest earthquake in 25 years” on the island. The quake occurred at just before 8 a.m. in Taiwan (2 a.m. Belgian time) off the east coast of Taiwan at a depth of 15.5 kilometers. The Taiwan Meteorological Agency is talking about an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2. The Japanese Meteorological Institute first reported 7.5, but later adjusted this to 7.7, while the American Seismological Institute (USGS) speaks of a magnitude of 7.4.

“The earthquake was close to the coast and not deep. It was felt throughout Taiwan and the neighboring islands. It is the strongest earthquake since the 1999 earthquake,” Wu told the press. That year, 2,400 people were killed in an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6.

A building partially collapsed in Taiwan’s eastern city of Hualien.Image AP

Public transport has been stopped in various places on the island with 23 million inhabitants, as has train traffic on the high-speed lines. About 87,000 households are currently without electricity, network operator Taipower said. Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC had evacuated its business premises as a precaution. In the meantime, the staff returns to the workshop.

According to eyewitnesses, the earthquake was clearly felt in the Taiwanese capital Taipei. A few hours later, another aftershock was felt in the capital.

Two buildings collapsed in the eastern city of Hualien, which was near the epicenter of the quake. At least four people were killed. According to local media reports, people are still trapped under the rubble and rescue operations are underway. Television channel TVBS also reported that the quake caused landslides in the district.

People are rescued from a partially collapsed building in the eastern city of Hualien.Image AP

Three people were injured when a warehouse collapsed in the northern city of New Taipei, Taiwanese media reported.

The quake was also felt on mainland China, including in Fujian province, Chinese state media reported. Reuters spoke to a witness from the metropolis of Shanghai who had felt the quake.

A building partially collapsed in the eastern city of Hualien.Image AP

A tsunami alert was declared for Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines on Wednesday morning. Japan and the Philippines have since lifted the warnings. Small tidal waves reached the islands of Yonaguni, Ishigaki and Miyako, in Okinawa Prefecture, earlier in the day. However, the meteorological agency had warned of tidal waves of more than three meters high.

China has offered Taiwan assistance in rescue efforts, a spokeswoman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said. It is not yet clear whether Taiwan will accept the aid. Relations between the two countries are tense, as China views Taiwan as a ‘renegade province’ and part of its own territory.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Worst earthquake years Taiwan dead dozens injured


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