7.3 magnitude earthquake rocks Taiwan, collapsing buildings and sparking tsunami warnings in the region


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At least two buildings were partially collapsed when a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck the east coast of Taiwan at 7.58am on Wednesday.

The quake’s epicentre, was in waters about 25km (15.5 miles) south of the eastern county of Hualien and 138km from Taipei, according to the Central Weather Bureau. The shock was felt across the island.

Tsunami warnings have been issued on the island as well as in mainland China and elsewhere in the region.

The earthquake hit off Hualien and could be felt across the island, as well as in mainland China. Photo: Facebook/東京台東興起教會

Local media footage showed that buildings shook violently for a minute before crashing to the ground, while residents ran screaming.

The number of casualties was not immediately known.

Subways in Taipei were halted, students evacuated from schools and part of the southern Hualien were subjected to power outages, Taiwan local media reported.

The impact of the earthquake could be felt in Japan and off the east coast of mainland China, including in Shanghai, Suzhou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shantou.

Hongkongers report feeling tremors after 7.3 magnitude quake hits Taiwan

The mainland’s Tsunami Warning Center under the Ministry of Natural Resources issued a level 1 tsunami alert, or red alert – the highest of four levels – and said it expected there would be further damage to areas around Hualian, including eastern Taipei.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for Miyako Island and the main island of Okinawa around 8am, with waves expected to reach 3 meters high, NHK reported.

Taiwanese scramble to safety after the earthquake struck around 8am on Wednesday. Photo: Facebook/東京台東興起教會

An hour later, Manila also issued a tsunami warning and ordered the evacuation of its coastal areas, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

After the earthquake, Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council

Aftershocks up to magnitude 7 were expected in the next few days, the island’s Central Weather Bureau said.


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