Deadly Earthquake Rocks Taiwan: Most Powerful in Over Two Decades Causes Destruction

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Written By Vikas Jangid

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Powerful Earthquake in Taiwan, Triggers Tsunami Warnings

During Wednesday's morning rush hour, a powerful earthquake in Taiwan, leading to the collapse of buildings and initiating tsunami warnings across Japan and the Philippines. The disaster has resulted in at least four fatalities and numerous injuries, as confirmed by officials.

Earthquake Details and Impact

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the quake, with a magnitude of 7.4, occurred near the eastern city of Hualien at 7:58 am local time (2358 GMT). This event marks the most significant seismic activity the island has faced since 1999.

According to measurements, the quake's epicenter was at a relatively shallow depth of 35 kilometers (22 miles), although Taiwan's earthquake monitoring agency has listed the magnitude slightly lower, at 7.2.

Source: Twitter/The Times of India 

In the capital city of Taipei, located approximately 100 miles from the epicenter, residents experienced strong tremors, with aftershocks persisting for around two hours. Further reports from China indicated that the earthquake's effects were felt as far as Shanghai, about 500 miles to the north.

Response to the Earthquake

Television footage showed extensive damage in the affected areas, with several buildings either tilted or shifted from their foundations. Authorities in Hualien, which houses around 300,000 people, suspended work and educational activities for safety reasons.

Moreover, eight power plants were shut down as a precaution, leaving 87,000 residents in Hualien without electricity, although power supply remained stable in other parts of the island.

In the aftermath of the quake, Bloomberg News reported that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), a leading global semiconductor manufacturer, evacuated its production lines as a precautionary measure.

Transportation and Tsunami Warnings

Transportation across Taiwan was significantly impacted, with officials suspending all train services, including the Taipei subway system. Visuals from the epicenter showed roads blocked by rockslides and homes knocked off their foundations.

The quake prompted the Japan Meteorological Agency to forecast a tsunami with potential heights of up to 3 meters (about 10 feet) for the southern Japanese islands, including Okinawa. The Associated Press observed a tsunami wave of 30 centimeters (approximately 1 foot) hitting Yonaguni Island shortly after the quake. Tsunami waves were also expected to affect Miyako and Yaeyama Islands.

The Philippines responded by issuing a tsunami warning, advising residents in four coastal areas to evacuate to higher grounds or move inland as a precautionary measure.

Historical Context

This earthquake is reminiscent of the last major seismic event to hit Taiwan, the "Jiji" earthquake of September 21, 1999. That quake, with a magnitude of 7.3, devastated thousands of buildings and claimed more than 2,400 lives, highlighting the island's vulnerability to natural disasters.

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