Strongest Taiwan quake in 25 years; 9 dead, 900 injured

Fatal Earthquake Hits Taiwan: Casualties and Aftermath

At least nine individuals perished, and over 900 sustained injuries as a 7.2 magnitude earthquake — the most potent to hit Taiwan in 25 years — shook the island nation on Wednesday

As per the Taiwan government, four fatalities occurred in the mountainous, scarcely inhabited eastern county of Hualien, near the epicenter.

The fire department reported 77 individuals still trapped, some within collapsed structures in Hualien. It also noted that over 100 buildings suffered damage.

Taiwanese television stations aired footage of buildings at precarious angles in Hualien, where the tremor struck just offshore around 8 a.m. (0000GMT) as individuals were commuting to work and school.

The seismic event was centered just off the east coast at a depth of 15.5km (9.6 miles), according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration.

“It was very intense. It felt as though the house was going to topple,” recounted 60-year-old Taipei hospital worker Chang Yu-lin.

The presidential office disclosed that president-elect Lai Ching-te, slated to assume office next month, would visit Hualien later on Wednesday.

Videos showcased rescuers employing ladders to aid individuals in exiting windows, while massive landslides, triggered by the tremors, carved down hillsides elsewhere.

Strong tremors were also felt on Taipei’s subway system, which briefly halted services to evacuate passengers, although operations resumed shortly after on most lines.

Japan’s weather agency, which assessed the earthquake’s magnitude at 7.7, noted several minor tsunami waves reaching sections of the southern prefecture of Okinawa.

The Philippines Seismology Agency issued alerts for coastal residents of various provinces, urging them to relocate to higher ground.

Taiwan issued a tsunami alert but reported no resulting damage, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii subsequently confirmed the diminished risk of destructive tsunami waves.

Despite more than 50 registered aftershocks, tremors were still perceptible in Taipei, according to Taiwan’s central weather administration.

Chinese state media indicated that the quake was felt in China’s Fujian province, while a Reuters witness attested to its impact in Shanghai.

Electricity provider Taipower indicated that power had been mostly restored, asserting that the island’s two nuclear power plants remained unaffected by the seismic activity.

Taiwan’s high-speed rail operator stated no harm or injuries were reported on its trains but acknowledged delays as it conducted inspections.

Semiconductor behemoth Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, a primary supplier for Apple and Nvidia, disclosed the evacuation of some fabrication plants, affirming the functionality of its safety systems.

“To ensure personnel safety, some fabs were evacuated in accordance with company protocols. We are presently verifying the details of the impact,” the company stated.

Subsequently, it confirmed that evacuated personnel were gradually returning to their workstations.

Taiwan’s main stock index .TWII predominantly disregarded the earthquake’s consequences, concluding with a 0.6% decline. TSMC’s Taipei-listed shares concluded with a 1.3% decrease.

Taiwan’s official central news agency described the quake as the most significant to strike the island since 1999 when a 7.6 magnitude tremor resulted in approximately 2,400 fatalities and the destruction or damage of 50,000 structures in one of Taiwan’s most catastrophic seismic episodes.

Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration indicated that the earthquake registered the second-highest intensity level of an “Upper 6” in Hualien county, based on the 1-7 intensity scale.

In an “Upper 6” earthquake, most unreinforced concrete-block walls collapse, and individuals find it impossible to stand or move without crawling, as per the Japan Meteorological Agency.