Taiwan Hit by Most Powerful Quake in 25 Years

9 dead, hundreds wounded as quake collapsed buildings in eastern city
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 2, 2024 7:52 PM CDT
Updated Apr 3, 2024 6:01 AM CDT
Massive Quake Hits Taiwan, Causes Tsunami
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, 2024.   (TVBS via AP)

A powerful earthquake rocked the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, collapsing buildings in an eastern city and creating a tsunami that washed ashore on southern Japanese islands. It was the island's most powerful quake in 25 years.

  • Taiwan's earthquake monitoring agency gave the magnitude as 7.2 while the US Geological Survey put it at 7.4. It struck at 7:58am about 11 miles south-southwest of the eastern Taiwan city of Hualien and was about 21 miles deep. The quake was felt in the capital, Taipei, and aftershocks continued for around an hour.
  • Nine people died in the quake, according to Taiwan's national fire agency. Another 934 people were injured, reports the AP. Another six people were trapped in a coal mine, where a rescue was underway. The local United Daily News reported three hikers died in rockslides in Taroko National Park near the offshore epicenter. A van driver died in the same area when boulders hit the vehicle
  • The Japan Meteorological Agency said a tsunami wave about a foot tall was detected on the coast of Yonaguni island about 15 minutes after the quake struck. Smaller waves were measured in Ishigaki and Miyako islands. Japan sent military aircraft to gather information about the impact around the Okinawa region.

  • The Philippines' seismology agency also issued a tsunami alert, warning people in coastal areas of several provinces to head to higher ground or move inland immediately, the Guardian reports. No major tsunami was reported about three hours after the quake.
  • Television showed buildings in Hualien shaken off their foundations. A five-story building appeared heavily damaged, with its first floor collapsed and the rest leaning at a 45-degree angle. In Taipei, tiles fell from older buildings and in some newer office complexes, while debris fell from some building sites. Schools evacuated their students to sports fields, equipping them with yellow safety helmets.
  • The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii or the US Pacific territory of Guam. About three hours after the earthquake, it said the threat had largely passed for all areas, with waves being reported only in Taiwan and southern Japan.
This story has been updated with new developments. (More Taiwan earthquake stories.)

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