Seven dead, over 700 injured in Taiwan’s most powerful earthquake in 25 years | International

Seven dead, over 700 injured in Taiwan’s most powerful earthquake in 25 years | International
Seven dead, over 700 injured in Taiwan’s most powerful earthquake in 25 years | International

A powerful earthquake shook the island of Taiwan at 7.58 am local time on Wednesday, killing at least seven people and injuring hundreds more, authorities reported. Rescue services are looking for 77 people reported as trapped after buildings collapsed and roads were damaged as a result of the country’s strongest tremor in 25 years.

The Taiwan National Fire Agency placed the death toll at seven and said at least 736 people have been injured. Local authorities said the quake measured 7.2 on the Richter scale, while US seismologists said it was a magnitude 7.4 quake.

The earthquake was followed by several strong aftershocks, including one of magnitude 6.5. The Seismological Center of the Taiwan Meteorological Administration warned that there could be aftershocks over the next three to four days.

The epicenter was located about 15 miles south-southeast of the government center of Hualien County, a sparsely populated mountainous area on the east coast of the country. The tremor was felt throughout the island, according to the Taiwanese news agency CNA. There were images of cracked roads, cars crushed by landslides, partially collapsed buildings, fallen cranes, and tilted houses in the urban area of ​​Hualien.

Firefighters work at the site where a building collapsed following the earthquake in Hualien, Taiwan.TAIWAN NATIONAL FIRE AGENCY (via REUTERS)

The tremor was also felt on the Japanese islands of Okinawa, and Japanese authorities initially issued a tsunami warning. Residents of Hangzhou, more than 400 miles away from the epicenter, on the coast of China, also felt the quake. Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines have since called off their tsunami alerts.

Taiwan produces about 60% of the world’s semiconductors and 90% of the most advanced semiconductors, mostly through a single company, TSMC, which has been forced to shut down and evacuate some factories to ensure the safety of employees. Other chip producers have also reported precautionary shutdowns and inspections to assess possible damage.

This is the largest earthquake recorded on Taiwan since 1999, when the natural disaster caused some 2,400 deaths and nearly 10,000 injuries.

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