Death toll from Taiwan’s Hualien earthquake rises to 10, with 934 injured

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3rd April 2024 – (Taipei) At 7.58am today, a powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake, classified as a Richter scale measurement, rocked the waters off the coast of Hualien. The epicentre was located 25 kilometres southeast of Hualien, with a shallow depth of 12 kilometres. Following the initial quake, Taiwan experienced over a hundred subsequent aftershocks, including two notable ones at 8.11am and 8.35am, measuring 6.5 and 5.6 on the Richter scale, respectively. The devastating seismic event, according to the Fire Department, has claimed the lives of at least 10 individuals, left 934 injured, and trapped 56 people who are still awaiting rescue. Among the affected areas, Hualien’s popular tourist spot, the Dekalun Trail, was struck by falling rocks, resulting in numerous visitors being hit. Over a hundred people were evacuated from the scene, while nearly a thousand individuals remain stranded on the mountain.

The 7.5-magnitude earthquake caused tremors that reverberated throughout Taiwan for over a minute. The impact was strongly felt in Taipei City, where power outages occurred in certain areas, and both the metro and high-speed rail services came to a halt. In Hualien, a five-story building on Beibin Street tilted and collapsed onto the road below. The first-floor restaurant, was completely crushed under the weight, with the once vibrant red roof now pressed against the ground. Vehicles along the roadside urgently stopped as terrified pedestrians filled the air with screams. Additionally, a ten-story apartment building near the old train station also tilted, prompting the evacuation of over a hundred residents.

The victims of this catastrophic earthquake include a slope worker on Taiwan’s Route 8 who was struck by falling rocks, at least three fatalities on the Dekalun Trail, and one casualty in the Xinxin and Ren mining area. One individual trapped in the tilted building lost their life, while several drivers were fatally hit by falling rocks. In Zhu’nan Town, Miaoli County, multiple people sustained injuries from falling debris. In Houlong Town, another individual was accidentally injured while seeking shelter, and six individuals were successfully rescued from a building in Miaoli County Government Complex that suffered structural damage. Furthermore, in Taian Township, boulders fell onto Miaoli County Route 61, damaging four vehicles, fortunately without causing any casualties.

The Taiwan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning. Across mainland China, cities such as Xiamen, Fuzhou, Shenzhen, and Hangzhou reported experiencing tremors. The China’s Ministry of Natural Resources’ Tsunami Early Warning Centre issued a Level I (Red) tsunami alert. The Japan Meteorological Agency also issued tsunami warnings for several locations, including Miyako Island and Okinawa Island, with anticipated waves of up to three meters. The alerts were later lifted around noon local time. The Philippines also issued a tsunami warning, urging residents in 23 coastal areas to evacuate immediately. The Ministry of Natural Resources subsequently reported that the tsunami warning had been lifted.