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International News: Earthquake causes damage along east coast of Taiwan

Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2024. 9:57 pm CST.

Photo Credit: TVBS/Associated Press/CNN

By Aaron Humes: Preliminary reports of damage have been reported along the east coast of Taiwan early Wednesday morning local time, after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake rocked the area, the strongest in a quarter of a century, according to CNN.

The main shock hit just before 8 a.m. in an area 11 miles south of the city of Hualien, 21 miles under the ground according to the US Geological Survey, followed by strong aftershocks felt across the island including in the capital Taipei.

People were reported trapped in collapsed buildings, thousands of homes lost power and a major highway was shut down due to damage from landslides and rockfalls. There have been warnings of further powerful aftershocks to occur until the end of the week.

The quake prompted tsunami warnings in Taiwan, southern Japan, and the Philippines, with waves less than half a meter observed along some coasts, and prompting airlines to suspend flights. The tsunami warning in Japan was later lifted, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

In Taiwan, military personnel have been dispatched to help with disaster relief, and schools and workplaces suspended operations as aftershocks hit the island, according to the Defense Ministry.

Taiwan’s outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen said Wednesday she had ordered her administration to “immediately” get “on top of the situation and understand local impacts as soon as possible.”

Tsai also told the administration to “provide necessary assistance, and work together with local governments to minimize the impact of the disaster.”

Taiwan is regularly rocked by earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which runs around the edge of the Pacific Ocean and causes massive seismic and volcanic activity from Indonesia to Chile.

Wednesday’s quake is the strongest to hit Taiwan since 1999, according to the Central Weather Administration. That powerful 7.7 magnitude quake hit 93 miles south of Taipei, killing 2,400 people and injuring 10,000 others.

 

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