Taiwan’s strongest quake in nearly 25 years damages buildings, leaves 9 dead : NPR

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In this image taken from a video broadcast by TVBS, residents rescue a child from a partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, on Wednesday.

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In this image taken from a video broadcast by TVBS, residents rescue a child from a partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, on Wednesday.

AP

TAIPEI, Taiwan – A large earthquake struck Taiwan during the morning rush hour on Wednesday, collapsing buildings and prompting tsunami warnings in Japan and the Philippines.

At least nine people were killed and 963 injured in the strongest earthquake ever seen since 1999, Taiwanese officials said.

The earthquake occurred near the eastern city of Hualien at 07:58 local time (23:58 GMT) and had a magnitude of 7.4. according to the US Geological Survey., making it the strongest earthquake to occur since 1999. The depth was about 35 kilometers (22 miles), which is considered shallow. Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency estimated the magnitude at 7.2.

Strong shaking was felt in Taipei, the capital, about 100 miles away, and aftershocks continued for about two hours. And there were reports in China that people as far away as Shanghai, about 500 miles to the north, could feel the earthquake.

Television images showed extensive damage, including buildings leaning to one side after being shaken from their foundations. Authorities suspended work and school in Hualien, an area with about 300,000 residents. Authorities also closed eight power plants for safety reasons, and 87,000 residents in Hualien, the epicenter, were left without power, although electricity remains on in the rest of the island.

TSMC, the world’s leading manufacturer of next-generation microchips, production lines temporarily evacuated after the earthquake.

In this image taken from a video broadcast by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, on Wednesday. A powerful earthquake shook the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, collapsing buildings in a southern city and creating a tsunami that hit the coasts of Japan’s southern islands.

TVBS via AP


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TVBS via AP


In this image taken from a video broadcast by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, on Wednesday. A powerful earthquake shook the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, collapsing buildings in a southern city and creating a tsunami that hit the coasts of Japan’s southern islands.

TVBS via AP

Taiwan transportation authorities said train service was suspended islandwide, as was subway service in Taipei. Videos from the epicenter show rockfalls covering roads and houses that were left out of place.

An initial tsunami warning issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency was lifted later on Wednesday. The AP reported that a 30-centimeter (about 1 foot) wave was detected off the coast of Yonaguni Island about 15 minutes after the earthquake struck. JAMA said the waves are also likely to hit the coasts of Miyako and Yaeyama islands.

No tsunami warning was issued in the Philippines, but residents in several coastal areas were advised to move to higher ground or inland.

According to Taiwanese media, the last earthquake of magnitude 7 or greater to hit the island was the “Jiji” earthquake of September 21, 1999, which measured 7.3, which destroyed thousands of buildings and killed more than 2,400. people.

John Ruwitch contributed reporting from Beijing.

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