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Strongest earthquake in 25 years hits Taiwan sending shock waves in neighbouring countries » Capital News


TAIPEI, Taiwan, Apr 3 – A powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off Taiwan’s east coast on Wednesday, killing at least one person.

The earthquake caused multiple buildings to collapse in Hualien, the city closest to the epicentre, where rescue efforts are taking place.

The strongest tremor to hit the island in 25 years was also felt as far as Taiwan’s mountainous interior, which was rocked by huge landslides.

In the capital Taipei, footage showed buildings seen shakily violently.

“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,” said Wu Chien Fu, the director of Taipei’s Seismology Centre.

One person has died and three others are injured at a trail around Taroko National Park, Taiwan’s National Fire Agency said. The park is named after a landmark gorge just outside Hualien.

Multiple people have been trapped in tunnels in Hualien, the agency said.

Taiwanese chipmaking giant TSMC said it has evacuated some of its factories in Hsinchu and southern Taiwan for its staff’s safety, but it added that its safety systems are operating normally. TSMC is a major producer of semiconductors for tech firms including Apple and Nvidia.

Earlier, the earthquake set off tsunami warnings on the island and its neighbouring countries.

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In the capital Taipei, footage on local media outlets show collapsed residential buildings and people being evacuated from their homes and schools. The impact of the earthquake has also smashed vehicles and thrown items inside stores in disarray, according to clips aired by local broadcaster TVBS.

Power cuts and internet outages have been reported across the island, according to internet monitoring group NetBlocks.

Wednesday’s earthquake hit at 07:58 local time (23:58 GMT) at a depth of 15.5km and has set off at least nine aftershocks at magnitude 4 or larger. The earthquake’s epicentre is located about 18km (11 miles) south of Taiwan’s Hualien city, according to the US Geological Survey.

In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan, killing 2,400 people and destroying 5,000 buildings.

In neighbouring Japan, authorities had earlier warned that tsunami waves of up to 3m were expected to reach large areas of its southwestern coast.

The Japan Meteorological Agency agency later downgraded the warning, but has asked residents to remain “vigilant for aftershocks with similar intensity” for about a week.

The Philippines’ seismology agency also issued a tsunami warning shortly after the quake hit, urging residents to evacuate to higher ground – which it later cancelled.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in an update about two hours after the quake hit that the tsunami threat “has now passed”.

Chinese state media said tremors were felt in parts of China’s south-eastern Fujian province.

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