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  HOME PAGE 17/04/2024 19:13 
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Taiwan's Strongest Earthquake In 25 Years Leaves 9 Dead, Hundreds Injured

03.04.2024 12:57

Public infrastructure damaged, while land routes to cities and towns in eastern part cut off due to damaged roads and bridges.

The death toll climbed to nine due to a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck off Taiwan's eastern coast early Wednesday, while hundreds of others were injured.

All deaths were reported in the eastern Hualien county which were mostly caused by falling stones on highways, while injuries were reported in several areas, including the capital Taipei.

The number of injured people rose to 821, TVBS News reported.

The search and rescue operations continued as Taiwan experienced some 127 aftershocks.

There are reports that some 1,000 people were trapped in the Taroko National Park in the Hualien.

The quake is the strongest to have hit the island nation in 25 years. Around 2,400 people were killed in 1999 when a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan in the middle of the night.

President Tsai Ing-wen has ordered the military to be deployed in the affected areas.

Soldiers equipped with search and rescue tools besides debris-removing excavators were seen working in the affected areas.

Earthquake impact 'should be relatively localized'

The US Geological Survey announced that the epicenter of the quake was 18 kilometers (11 miles) south of the city of Hualien.

It said: "Casualties and damage are likely, but the impact should be relatively localized."

However, Taiwan's Central Weather Administration (CWA) put the magnitude of the earthquake at 7.2, saying it struck off the coast of Hualien county in eastern Taiwan at 7.58 a.m. Wednesday (2358GMT Tuesday).

It added that another earthquake of magnitude 6.5 jolted the island nation 13 minutes later.

"Disaster response is underway following this morning's 7.2 earthquake and aftershocks," said Tsai, who chaired the meeting of the Central Disaster Response Center in Taipei following the earthquake.

She expressed gratitude to messages of support "from around the world" as well as to Taiwan's "first responders for their life-saving work."

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was one of the first to extend condolences and a message of support to Taiwan.

Video footage from local media showed some buildings in the city collapsing due to the quake, which occurred at a depth of 34.8 kilometers (21 miles).

There are reports of people trapped in the collapsed buildings.

The CWA also issued a tsunami warning for the northern regions of the island after the quake, which also triggered landslides.

Flights affected, roads damaged

Metro lines in Taipei and the Taichung and Kaohsiung areas were affected, while people in coastal areas were preparing to be evacuated due to fears of high waves.

Some flights to and from Taiwan were also affected, while three injuries were reported at the Taoyuan International Airport Corporation, which also suffered some damage to terminal floors, walls, and sprinkler heads.

Schools in the affected areas also suspended classwork, and electricity in many areas was also affected.

Some cities and towns in Hualien were cut off due to damaged roads and bridges and people will have to rely on water transport for some time to reach their destination.

There are possibilities of recurring tremors over the next few days.

Taiwan's tech companies also evacuated thousands of people and a review process is ongoing. Any impact of the earthquake on the tech sector is likely to cause disruptions in chip supplies.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Nuclear Safety Commission said the only active nuclear plant on the island was "operating as usual."

The earthquake triggered small tsunami waves that reached southwestern Japan, which has now lowered an alert over high waves.

Mainland China expressed "high concern" over the earthquake and said it was "willing to provide disaster relief assistance."

The Philippines had also raised a tsunami warning over four areas in northern Luzon following the earthquake. -

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