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Four confirmed dead after major earthquake rattles Taiwan

In World
April 03, 2024

According to official figures, at least four people have been killed and around 60 injured as a result of the severe earthquake off the coast of Taiwan.

This was confirmed by the island’s national fire authority on Wednesday. In addition, numerous buildings suffered catastrophic damage.

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake shook Taiwan on Wednesday, according to the Central Weather Administration (CWA), triggering a small tsunami which reached some islands in south-western Japan.

The quake struck at 7:58 am (2358 GMT Tuesday) at a depth of 15.5 kilometres. The epicentre was about 25 kilometres south-east of Hualien in eastern Taiwan, the CWA said. It was followed by several strong aftershocks including one of 6.5 magnitude.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) put the earthquake’s magnitude at 7.4.

Some buildings in Hualien were severely damaged by the violent tremors, local media reported. Photos showed a collapsed multi-storey building.

In New Taipei city, which surrounds the capital in the island’s north, a warehouse collapsed injuring three people, several media outlets reported. Damage was also reported in other parts of the island. According to eyewitnesses, the quake was also clearly felt in Taipei.

Public rail transport was cancelled in several major cities on the island with a population of more than 23 million. Express train services were also interrupted.

Taiwan’s major semiconductor manufacturer TSMC halted production, according to the Hsinchu Science Park Administration, as did Powerchip.

According to reports, TSMC was checking the condition of its production line after evacuating workers during the earthquake.

The official Nuclear Safety Commission (NUSC) issued a notice at 8:22 am stating that the Maanshan nuclear power plant in southern Pingtung County continued to operate normally after the shock.

A small tsunami reached the nearby Japanese islands of Yonaguni, Ishigaki and Miyako in Okinawa Prefecture, the Japan Meteorological agency said, as it warned of the possibility of larger tsunami of up to 1 metre.

The US National Weather Service earlier had warned that “based on the preliminary earthquake parameters… hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 km of the earthquake epicenter.” Around 0200 GMT it issued a notice saying the tsunami threat had passed.

In September 1999, the earthquake-prone Taiwan island, which sits on the boundary between the Eurasian plate and the Philippine Sea plate, was hit by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake that left more than 2,400 people dead.

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