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Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in nearly 25 years damages buildings and kills 4 people


In this image taken from a clip broadcast by TVBS, residents of Hualien City in eastern Taiwan rescue a child from a partially collapsed building on Wednesday, April 3, 2024.

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In this image taken from a clip broadcast by TVBS, residents of Hualien City in eastern Taiwan rescue a child from a partially collapsed building on Wednesday, April 3, 2024.

Anonymous/AP

TAIPEI, Taiwan – A major earthquake struck Taiwan during morning rush hour on Wednesday, collapsing buildings and triggering tsunami warnings in Japan and the Philippines.

Officials said the earthquake killed at least four people and injured dozens more.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 struck near the eastern city of Hualien at 7:58 a.m. local time (2358 GMT). According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the strongest earthquake since 1999. The earthquake’s focal depth was about 35 kilometers (22 miles), making it a shallow earthquake. The Taiwan Earthquake Monitoring Agency gave the earthquake a magnitude of 7.2.

Strong shaking was felt in the capital Taipei, about 100 miles away, with aftershocks lasting about two hours. There were reports in China that the earthquake was felt as far away as Shanghai, about 500 miles to the north.

Images on television showed widespread damage, including buildings collapsing after being shaken from their foundations. Authorities suspended work and schools in the Hualien area, which has about 300,000 residents. Authorities also shut down eight power plants to ensure safety and the epicenter Hualien, where 87,000 residents live, was without power, but the rest of the island remained powered.

Bloomberg News According to reports, TSMC, the world’s leading manufacturer of cutting-edge microchips, evacuated its production lines after the earthquake.

In this image taken from footage broadcast by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien City, eastern Taiwan, Wednesday, April 3, 2024. A powerful earthquake shook the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, collapsing buildings in the southern city and triggering a tsunami that crashed onto Japan’s southern island.

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In this image taken from footage broadcast by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien City, eastern Taiwan, Wednesday, April 3, 2024. A powerful earthquake shook the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, collapsing buildings in the southern city and triggering a tsunami that crashed onto Japan’s southern island.

TVBS via AP

Taiwan’s transportation department said island-wide train services have been suspended, as well as subway services in Taipei City. Video from the epicenter showed landslides covering roads and homes, causing them to lose their balance.

Soon after, the Japan Meteorological Agency forecast a tsunami of up to 3 meters (9.8 feet) in Okinawa, southern Japan. Associated Press report About 15 minutes after the earthquake, waves of 30 centimeters (about 1 foot) were detected off the coast of Yonaguni Island. Waves may also have hit the coasts of Miyakojima and Yaeyama islands, JAMA said.

The Philippines issued a tsunami warning, strongly advising people in four coastal areas to evacuate to higher ground or move inland.

According to Taiwanese media reports, the last earthquake on the island with a magnitude above 7 was the 7.3-magnitude “Chi-Chi” earthquake on September 21, 1999, which destroyed thousands of buildings and killed more than 2,400 people.

John Ruwitch contributed reporting from Beijing.



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