Deadly Taiwan Earthquake Claims 7 Lives, Leaves Hundreds Injured

Scene from the Earthquake aftermath
Scene from the Earthquake aftermathgoogle

A powerful earthquake struck Taiwan on Wednesday, leaving at least seven dead and over 700 injured. The quake damaged numerous buildings and triggered tsunami warnings reaching Japan and the Philippines before being lifted.

Officials described the earthquake as the strongest to hit the island in decades, with warnings of possible aftershocks in the coming days. "The earthquake is close to land and it’s shallow. It’s felt all over Taiwan and offshore islands," said Wu Chien-fu, director of Taipei’s Central Weather Administration’s Seismology Center.

Given Taiwan's location near the convergence of two tectonic plates and its history of seismic activity, the strict building regulations and public disaster awareness likely prevented a major catastrophe despite the severity of the quake.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the magnitude-7.4 earthquake struck just before 8:00 am local time (0000 GMT), with the epicenter located 18 kilometers (11 miles) south of Hualien City at a depth of 34.8 kilometers.

Seven people tragically lost their lives in the disaster, with three hikers crushed by boulders and others hit by falling rocks, while over 700 individuals were reported to have sustained injuries, although the severity remains unspecified.

Videos and images circulated on social media depict the tremors causing buildings to sway violently. Witnesses reported belongings falling off shelves, including one man from Hualien who recounted the chaos to SET TV.

After the earthquake, scenes of devastation unfolded, with multi-story buildings tilting and structures collapsing in Hualien and New Taipei City, while rescue operations are in progress, especially in Hualien, where landslides have blocked access to the city through tunnels.

President-elect Lai Ching-te emphasized the importance of swift rescue operations, while President Tsai Ing-wen urged cooperation between local and central government agencies, with military support being mobilized.

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