4 dead as earthquake hits Taiwan, strongest in 25 years

Beijing: At least four people were killed and dozens of others were injured after an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale struck Taiwan on April 3, which also triggered a tsunami in Japan’s Yonaguni Island. This is the strongest earthquake to hit Taiwan in 25 years since a 7.2-magnitude temblor struck the country’s Nantou county in 1999, killing more than 2,500 people and injuring over 1,300 others.

The Taiwanese government said the four deaths were reported in Hualien county, the earthquake’s epicenter, while more than 50 others were also injured, Reuters news agency reported. The government also said at least 26 buildings have collapsed in Taiwan due to the massive earthquake, with more than half of those located in the county.

Meanwhile, operations are underway to rescue about 20 people trapped in the debris of collapsed structures. While the US Geological Survey (USGS) said the temblor’s magnitude was 7.4, Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency measured 7.2 on the Richter scale.

The earthquake struck at 7.58 am, about 18 km south-southwest of Hualien, and was about 35 km deep. The USGS said multiple aftershocks hit Taipei, including one that was 6.5 magnitude and about 11.8 km deep. A five-storey building in Hualien partially collapsed to the first floor, leaving the building tilted at a 45-degree angle.

More than 91,000 households were also without electricity, according to Taiwan’s Central Emergency Command Centre. The earthquake also triggered a landslide, the footage of which has gone viral on social media.

In Japan, authorities said a tsunami wave measuring about one foot was detected on Yonaguni Island about 15 minutes after the earthquake struck Taiwan. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued a tsunami warning for residents of the coastal areas of Okinawa prefecture and warned that tsunami waves of up to 3 meters were expected to reach the country’s southwestern coast. According to the JMA, this was the first tsunami warning in Okinawa in 26 years, with the last one issued in 1998 after a 7.7 earthquake struck south of Ishigaki Island.

Image courtesy of Screen grab/X

Share this post