7.2 magnitude earthquake jolts Taiwan; strongest in 25 years

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Earthquake Strikes Taiwan: Buildings Collapse, Tsunami Warning Issued
Building in Taiwan uprooted by the strong earthquake (Photo - News Intervention)

A strong earthquake struck Taiwan on Wednesday, measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale. It’s the most powerful quake the island has experienced in at least 25 years. It caused the death of four people and left dozens injured. Initially, there was concern about a tsunami hitting southern Japan and the Philippines, later, that warning was lifted.

The earthquake’s epicenter was in the mountainous and thinly populated eastern county of Hualien. It led to the collapse of at least 26 buildings, mostly in Hualien, with approximately 20 individuals trapped under the rubble.

The quake occurred just offshore around 8 am local time, catching people off guard. Witnesses described it as a very strong tremor that made buildings sway dangerously.

Japan’s weather agency reported minor tsunami waves reaching parts of Okinawa, while the Philippines issued evacuation warnings for coastal areas. Taiwan also issued a tsunami warning, but, no significant damage occurred.

Aftershocks continued to rattle Taipei, with over 25 aftershocks recorded so far. The quake’s effects were also felt in China’s Fujian province and even as far as Shanghai.

Despite the severity of the quake, Taipei city reported no major damage, and its transportation systems resumed service swiftly. However, more than 87,000 households in Taiwan were left without power.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), a major semiconductor producer, evacuated some of its facilities but reported that safety systems were functioning correctly. Other major companies, including Apple supplier Foxconn, also felt the quake’s impact on their stocks.

This earthquake is the most significant to hit Taiwan since 1999, when a quake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale caused widespread devastation, claiming thousands of lives and damaging tens of thousands of buildings.

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