7 dead, over 700 injured as big earthquake hits Taiwan, strongest in 25 years

At least seven people died after an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale struck Taiwan on Wednesday, the strongest to hit the country in 25 years.
7 dead, over 700 injured as big earthquake hits Taiwan, strongest in 25 years
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At least seven people were killed, while more than 700 others were injured after an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale struck Taiwan on Wednesday, 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 four deaths were reported in Hualien county, the earthquake's epicentre, Reuters news agency reported.

The government also said at least 26 buildings have collapsed in Taiwan as a result of 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 said it 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.

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7 dead, over 700 injured as big earthquake hits Taiwan, strongest in 25 years

The USGS said multiple aftershocks hit Taipei, including one that was 6.5 magnitude and about 11.8 km deep. Taiwan's Central Weather Administration said more aftershocks were expected in the coming three or four, and could be as strong as a magnitude 6.5 to 7.0,

A five-storey building in Hualien partially collapsed to the first floor, leaving the building tilted at a 45-degree angle.

Videos have emerged on social media of the tilted building.

Meanwhile, train services were also suspended across Taiwan and in the capital Taipei, there were reports of tiles falling from buildings.

The Associated Press reported that the national legislature, a converted school built before World War II, also had damage to walls and ceilings. 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 1 foot was detected on Yonaguni Island about 15 minutes after the earthquake struck Taiwan.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) had issued a tsunami warning for residents of the coastal areas of Okinawa prefecture and warned that tsunami waves of up to 3 metres 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.

But the Agency downgraded the warning to an advisory later. It put the earthquake's magnitude at 7.7.

Japan's Self-Defense Force has scrambled aircraft to monitor the impact of the tsunami and was also preparing evacuation shelters.

The country's flag carrier, Japan Airlines has suspended all flights from Okinawa and Kagoshima regions, and diverted the ones that were heading to areas where the tsunami advisories were in place.

A spokesperson from Okinawa's Naha Airport confirmed to CNN that all flights were diverted, while employees and personnel were evacuated to the third floor in anticipation of the tsunami's impact.

While China has not issued any tsunami warnings for the mainland, the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat to Hawaii or Guam.

The Philippines had also issued a tsunami warning for the coastal areas, urging residents to evacuate to higher grounds.

Source: India Today

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