Taiwan has been rocked by its most violent earthquake in 25 years

At least two buildings collapsed in Hualien, a town near the epicenter.
– / AFP

A 7.4 magnitude earthquake was recorded on the island on Wednesday, where several buildings collapsed.

A 7.4-magnitude underwater earthquake struck near Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, the strongest to hit the island in 25 years, temporarily triggering tsunami warnings in Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines. The tremor, at a shallow depth, struck just before 8:00 a.m. local time (00:00 GMT, Japan time) very close to the east coast of the island. Several aftershocks occurred one after the other in the same area. Tremors of the earthquake were felt in the capital, Taipei. Firefighters gave an initial tentative report of one dead and about fifty injured.

Strongest earthquake in 25 years

“The earthquake is close to the coast and shallow. It was felt across Taiwan and neighboring islands… the strongest in 25 years since the 1999 earthquake., Wu Chien-fu, director of the Taipei Seismological Center, told reporters. In September 1999, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake killed 2,400 people, the worst disaster in Taiwan’s modern history.

“It was definitely the greatest experience of my life and it lasted maybe 30 seconds, although it felt like it lasted a lot longer”said Phil Smith, a Briton living in Taipei. “I heard a few emergency vehicle sirens but definitely no panic.”, he continued. Two buildings collapsed in Hualien, a city near the epicenter, according to firefighters. “Two buildings have collapsed and people may be trapped. We have no further information at this time.”A rescue official said. Images on social networks testify to the violence of the earthquake.

According to Bloomberg, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the world’s largest producer of advanced chips, quickly emptied its production sites.

Evacuation orders in the Philippines

Tsunami warning, later downgraded “Warning”, Japan also issued a warning for islands located in the southwest of the country, where tremors were also recorded. Okinawa (southwest) islands are threatened with one meter high waves. “Evacuate to higher ground, don’t move around”, recommended the presenter of the Japanese public channel NHK. The airport in Naha, Okinawa’s main city, quickly announced it was suspending flights. No casualties or major damage were immediately reported in Japan.

The Philippines also warned against it “High Tsunami Waves” and called for the evacuation of some coastal areas. “Residents of the coastal areas of the following provinces are advised to immediately evacuate to higher ground or go further inland”, the National Institute of Seismology said in a notice covering 23 provinces. The coastal areas of these provinces from north to south of the archipelago, but not including the capital Manila, “Expect to experience strong tsunami waves” Based on forecasting models, the statement added.

“Owners of boats in ports, estuaries or shallow coastal waters of the designated provinces should secure their boats and move away from the waterfront”. “Boats already at sea during this period must remain at sea, in deep water, until further notice”The organization added.

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