7.7-magnitude earthquake hits Taiwan: Strongest quake in 25 years; Japan issues tsunami alert | Latest updates | World News

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Taiwan Earthquake Today News: A strong 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan’s east shortly before 8 am local time on Wednesday, April 3, prompting tsunami warnings for the self-ruled island as well as parts of southern Japan. The Philippines also issued a tsunami warning and ordered the evacuation of coastal areas after the Taiwan earthquake.

In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3. A powerful earthquake rocked the entire island of Taiwan, collapsing buildings in a city and creating a tsunami that washed ashore on Japanese islands. (AP)

Taiwan’s fire department said one person is suspected to have been crushed to death by falling rocks in the mountainous, sparsely populated eastern county of Hualien where the epicenter was, with more than 50 injured.

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At least 26 buildings have collapsed, more than half in Hualien, with about 20 people trapped and rescue work ongoing, it said.

While the United States Geological Survey or USGS said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.4, with its epicenter 18 kilometers south of Taiwan’s Hualien City at a depth of 34.8 km, Japan’s Meteorological Agency put the magnitude at 7.7.

The earthquake that hit Taiwan’s east was “the strongest in 25 years”, said the director of Taipei’s Seismology Centre. “The earthquake is close to land and it’s shallow. It’s felt all over Taiwan and offshore islands… it’s the strongest in 25 years since the (1999) earthquake,” Wu Chien-fu told reporters, referring to a September 1999 quake with 7.6-magnitude that killed 2,400 people. Follow Live Updates on Taiwan earthquake

A five-story building in lightly populated Hualien appeared heavily damaged, collapsing its first floor and leaving the rest leaning at a 45-degree angle. In the capital, Taipei, tiles fell from older buildings and within some newer office complexes.

Taiwan earthquake: Latest updates

  • The earthquake offshore Taiwan rocked Taipei, the capital, knocking out power in several parts of the city.
  • Taiwan television stations showed footage of some collapsed buildings in Hualien, near the quake’s epicentre, and the media reported some people were trapped.
  • The quake could be felt as far as Shanghai, according to a Reuters witness.
  • The epicenter was just off the coast of eastern county of Hualien, in waters off the eastern coastline of Taiwan Island, the Taiwan central weather administration said.
  • Tsunami waves as high as three meters were expected immediately for remote Japanese islands in the region, including Miyakojima island, reports claimed. “Evacuate!” said a banner on Japanese national broadcaster NHK.
  • “Tsunami is coming. Please evacuate immediately,” an anchor on NHK said. “Don’t stop. Don’t go back.”
  • Live TV footage from the Okinawa region’s ports, including Naha, showed vessels heading out to sea, possibly in efforts to protect their ships, news agency AFP reported.
  • Train service was suspended across the island of 23 million people, as was subway service in Taipei. But things quickly returned to normal in the capital, with children going to school and the morning commute appearing to be normal.
  • Buildings shook briefly in Taiwan’s capital Taipei as an aftershock from the powerful earthquake.
  • A 7.6-magnitude jolt hit Taiwan in September 1999, killing around 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s history.
  • Japan experiences around 1,500 jolts every year.

(With inputs from agencies)

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