At least four dead after earthquake in Taiwan, ‘heaviest in 25 years’ | Abroad


An earthquake has struck off the coast of Taiwan that the country’s seismological agency said is the region’s strongest in 25 years. At least four deaths and sixty injuries have been reported. That number could still increase. The material damage appears to be limited, but a tsunami alarm is still in effect.

The earthquake struck at just before 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. Dutch time) and was felt throughout Taiwan and the surrounding islands. The Taiwanese Meteorological Institute speaks of an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2. The Japan Meteorological Institute first reported a magnitude of 7.5, but later adjusted this to 7.7. The epicenter of the quake is at a depth of 15.5 kilometers.

Buildings collapsed and damaged in the city of Hualien, leaving about 20 people trapped under the rubble. A person on a hiking trail is believed to have died after being buried under a rock. Rescue efforts are still in progress.

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, which has a population of 23 million.

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Tsunami warning

A tsunami warning was issued for Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines, but has already been withdrawn for the last two countries. A small tsunami already reached the Japanese islands of Yonaguni and Ishigaki in Yonaguni Prefecture. Authorities warn of waves of three meters or higher.

Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC has evacuated its business premises as a precaution. Residents of Taiwan are without power in several places, but there are no large-scale power outages.

Japan is prepared to provide assistance after the earthquake, Prime Minister Kishida said on X. He says he is heartbroken by the news.

China also offered Taiwan assistance in the rescue efforts on Wednesday morning, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Taiwan Affairs Bureau said. It is not yet clear whether Taiwan will accept the aid. Relations between the two countries are tense as China views Taiwan as part of its territory.

In September 1999, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake killed as many as 2,400 people in Taiwan.

A building in Hualien city leans after the earthquake. © AFP
Emergency workers in New Taipei City. © AFP

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: dead earthquake Taiwan heaviest years


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