Taiwan earthquake: nine dead and 900 injured as buildings collapse


The most powerful earthquake that Taiwan has experienced in the past 25 years has resulted in the unfortunate deaths of nine individuals and has left over 900 people injured. The earthquake has brought about building collapses, power failures, and landslides on the island. It has also resulted in the early warning of a tsunami in the Southern Regions of Japan and the Philippines.

According to the fire department, there were 64 individuals who were unable to leave one coal mine and six people trapped in another. The rescue workers also had no communication with 50 people who were traveling in minibuses through a national park when the earthquake struck and disrupted phone networks.

A strong earthquake hit the eastern coast of Taiwan near the city of Hualien, which is known for its tourist attractions. The severity of the quake was measured at 7.2 by Taiwan's earthquake monitoring agency and 7.4 by US experts. Many structures sustained damage and individuals were trapped as aftershocks continued to rock the area. The earthquake began at 7.58am.

On social media platforms, there were video clips showcasing the rescue of young ones who were trapped in destroyed buildings. A tall building with five levels in Hualien seemed to have sustained significant damage, as its bottom floor gave way and the rest of the structure tilted at a steep 45-degree angle.

There are almost 1,000 individuals, including visitors and workers, trapped in the mountains of Taroko national park in Hualien. According to reports from the media in the area, four people, including three hikers and a driver, were killed as a result of rockslides that occurred within the park.

The CST in Taiwan reported that a lot of folks and cars were stuck in the Dachingshui tunnel. The train routes were also affected, and schools and offices had to shut down in many parts of the city. Many tens of thousands of abodes had no electricity.

People in Hualien have reported that while driving they saw rocks falling from the surrounding mountains. The ground shook so violently that it forced some individuals to hurriedly leave their homes.

In the northern region, a portion of Guishan Island's cliff, which is a well-known sightseeing location recognized as Turtle Island because of its appearance, collapsed into the ocean. In the major city, Taipei, a few individuals were saved from a warehouse that had partially caved in, and tiles tumbled from the edifices.

Despite registering a 7.7 magnitude in Japan, officials from Taiwan's earthquake monitoring agency recorded Wednesday's earthquake as a 7.2 magnitude. This is notable as it is the strongest earthquake Taiwan has experienced since 1999, when a 7.6 magnitude earthquake occurred 93 miles (150km) south of Taipei and tragically caused the deaths of 2,400 individuals while injuring 10,000.

In 2022, Hualien was struck by a powerful earthquake, measuring 6.9 in magnitude. This resulted in buildings collapsing and a train derailing, which caused the unfortunate death of one individual. Furthermore, the incident also led to power outages affecting thousands of locals.

As stated by Bloomberg News, the earthquake that occurred on Wednesday led to the evacuation of TSMC, a prominent semiconductor manufacturer in Taiwan. This company is responsible for creating the majority of advanced semiconductors used across the world.

According to CST in Taiwan, over 15 aftershocks with a magnitude of 4.0 or higher have been observed, but the size of the aftershocks has been getting smaller.

Destruction could be seen on certain constructions located in the central area of Taipei. As an example, the exterior of the Howard Plaza hotel was impacted by the earthquake, leading to harm on the brickwork and causing some of the letters on the hotel’s sign to fall off.

Mike Hung Hsu, who was staying in a hotel, was disturbed by the earthquake and it woke him up. He stated that even though earthquakes are frequent in LA, he has never experienced this type of earthquake before. According to him, he has lived in Taiwan and never experienced an earthquake of this magnitude.

When a quake hit Okinawa prefecture, which is around 1,600km south of Tokyo, people were worried that big waves as high as 3 metres could hit some parts of the area. Japanese media reported this information at first, but the predictions were later changed to a lower level. By noon local time, the meteorological agency in Japan had removed all the tsunami warnings after finding no signs of alarm. Yoshimasa Hayashi, the chief cabinet secretary, also said that no injuries or damages were reported.

Even though the advisory had been issued, a representative from Japan's meteorological agency advised citizens to keep evacuating. According to news sources, inhabitants from Okinawa's main island relocated to a nearby US military compound, while videos signified others who were safe on elevated land in Naha, the capital of the prefecture, watching the ocean.

The organization has issued a cautionary statement indicating that there may be aftershocks in the coming week, which could be comparable in strength to the ones experienced in Taiwan.

According to the USGS, the center of the earthquake was located 18 kilometers (approximately 11 miles) south of Hualien city in Taiwan. The quake occurred at a depth of 34.8 kilometers.

On Wednesday, the agency in charge of studying earthquakes in the Philippines issued a warning to people living along the coast of the Pacific Ocean about possible high tsunami waves. However, a few moments later, they decided to cancel the warning.

Just 90 days ago, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale and a subsequent tsunami resulted in the loss of 244 lives and severe destruction across the Noto peninsula situated on the coast of the Japan Sea in Ishikawa prefecture.

The most substantial earthquake ever to hit Japan was a powerful underwater shock with a magnitude of 9.0. It occurred in March 2011, off the country's north-eastern coast, and resulted in a devastating tsunami. The enormous wave caused approximately 18,500 fatalities or people who could not be located.

China's office responsible for handling affairs related to Taiwan expressed great worry regarding the earthquake that occurred. The natural disaster was also felt in coastal cities located within Fujian province. In addition, the office offered to give support and aid as needed.

Further investigation was carried out with the contribution of Gregor Stuart Hunter.

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