April 24, 2024

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Taiwan: At least 4 dead and 50 injured in a strong earthquake – many trapped under the rubble

Taiwan: At least 4 dead and 50 injured in a strong earthquake – many trapped under the rubble

Four people were killed and 50 others were injured, according to the latest government report, after a very strong earthquake, with a magnitude of more than 7 (initial reports were Richter 7.2) struck Taiwan in the morning, causing buildings in Hualien to collapse. This led to the issuance of emergency warnings of a tsunami, whether on the island or in neighboring countries, most notably southern Japan and the Philippines.

The devastating earthquake was recorded at 7:58 local time (2:58 Greek time), and Taiwanese media reported that residents were trapped under the rubble.

Footage broadcast by Taiwanese television networks showed buildings leaning dangerously. A spokesman for the Hualien Fire Department said earlier, “Two buildings have collapsed… and there may be people trapped.” But the media talk about dozens of buildings that collapsed.

At least 87,000 families are without electricity.

The earthquake caused a power outage in parts of the capital, Taipei, when it occurred at a depth of 15.5 kilometers in waters off the eastern coast of Taiwan, according to the island's meteorological and seismological agency.

According to the electricity company Taipower, there are at least 87,000 families without electricity.

The magnitude of the earthquake was adjusted upward

According to the Japan Meteorological and Seismological Agency, small tsunami waves, no larger than a few tens of centimetres, were observed in southern Okinawa Prefecture. The authorities reduced the risk of a tsunami exceeding three meters high and lifted the evacuation order for coastal areas.

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At the same time, the Japanese Seismological Agency revised its assessment of the earthquake upward, and reported a tremor with a magnitude of 7.7 (from 7.5).

The Philippine Seismological Agency also issued an emergency tsunami warning, urging coastal residents to rush to higher ground.

The earthquake was felt as far away as Shanghai, China, and – much more so – in parts of southern China. Beijing, expressing its concern, offered to send aid to Taipei.

Dozens of aftershocks were felt in Taipei – at least 25 – five of them with a magnitude of 5 in the first hour after the main quake.

Strongest shaking in 25 years

This is the strongest earthquake the island has witnessed “in twenty-five years,” according to the director of the Taipei Seismological Center, Wu Chien-fu.

“The earthquake occurred close to the coast and at a shallow focal depth. The earthquake was felt all over Taiwan,” Wu told reporters, referring to the disaster that struck in September that year, when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit with a magnitude of 6.6. And the surrounding areas (…) It is the strongest in 25 years, since the 1999 earthquake.” The bombing killed about 2,400 people and destroyed or seriously damaged about 50,000 buildings.

With information from APE, Reuters, AFP

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