Tuesday, May 28, 2024

7.4 Earthquake Hits Taiwan, 9 killed and Over 950 Injured

A major earthquake struck the coast of Taiwan on Wednesday, killing at least nine and injuring more than 950.

The epicenter was approximately 10 miles south of Hualien city, however, the tremors were felt as far away as Taipei, over 100 km away. It’s the strongest earthquake to strike Taiwan in over two decades.

The 7.4 quake also triggered tsunami alerts in nearby Philippine and Japanese islands, which were later withdrawn. It was also followed by at least nine aftershocks, all of which had a magnitude of 4 or higher.

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The epicenter of the earthquake was in Hualien city, just off of Taiwan’s populated east coast

The earthquake caused the most damage in Jualien city, where buildings came down, train lines stopped, and roads were blocked, which cut it from the rest of the country.

Fortunately, no one was injured on the trains when the quake hit. The two nuclear power stations in Taiwan are also unaffected by the quake.

One resident, Ocean Tsai, said that he was just waking up and getting out of bed when his cabinet fell over. Fortunately, the damage to his home was minimal.

Other areas, however, saw significant landslides, which tumbled down the mountains, trapping dozens in the area.

In total, 77 people were trapped in the winding roads and tunnels, the latter of which is a popular tourist spot due to its spectacular mountain views. Rescue operations have since begun, though it’s unclear how long it will take as the roads outside the tunnels have crumbled away.

taiwan quake
Many apartments and residences were damaged in the quake

It’s also unknown whether or not the trapped individuals have any food or water or whether or not they can communicate with those on the outside.

Authorities also lost contact with 50 hotel staff members who were riding in minibusses after the earthquake downed all phone networks. Three of them eventually managed to reach the hotel, while the rest remained stranded in Taroko National Park.

Six F-16 fighter jets, which are part of Taiwan’s air forces, were also damaged in the city. However, officials said they are expected to return to service shortly.

In Taipei, several residential buildings also collapsed. Video footage showed people evacuating from their homes and schools, with many smashed vehicles on the road.

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The 7.4 quake was the largest to hit Taiwan in 25 years

The director of Taipei’s Seismology Center, Wu Chien Fu, said it was the strongest quake in 25 years. The fact that it’s shallow and close to land also meant it was felt as far north as Taiwan.

The Strongest Earthquake in 25 Years

While the country has a history of earthquakes, those who’ve lived in Taipei for years said this was the strongest one they have experienced in several decades.

The last major earthquake in Taiwan, which struck in September 1999, measured 7.6 on the Richter scale killed over 2,400 people and destroyed more than 5,000 buildings.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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