Powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake claims at least 1 life and leaves over 50 wounded, triggering tsunami alerts in Taiwan, China, Japan, and the Philippines

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3rd April 2024 – (Taipei) A devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the waters off Hualien, Taiwan, at 7.58am. The epicentre was located 25 kilometres southeast of Hualien, with a shallow depth of 12 kilometres, indicating a shallow-seated earthquake. Following the main quake, Taiwan experienced at least 10 subsequent aftershocks, with two of them measuring 6.5 and 5.6 magnitudes respectively at 8.11am and 8.35am. This seismic event has tragically claimed the life of at least one individual and left over 50 injured.

During the occurrence of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake, the entire Taiwan region experienced over a minute of intense shaking. Taipei City felt strong tremors, resulting in power outages in certain areas. The metro and high-speed rail services were completely suspended. In Hualien, a five-story building on Beibin Street tilted and collapsed onto the road surface. The first-floor restaurant, “Happy Moments Brunch,” was crushed and disappeared beneath the wreckage. The once vibrant red roof now lay on the ground, and vehicles along the roadside came to an abrupt halt as terrified citizens screamed in panic. Additionally, a ten-story apartment building near the old train station also tilted, prompting over a hundred residents to evacuate.

The earthquake caused a seismic intensity of 5 in Zhunan Township, Miaoli County, and 4 in Miaoli City. In Zhunan Township, three individuals were injured by falling objects, while one person in Houlung Town sustained injuries from a fall during evacuation. A rescue operation successfully freed six individuals who were trapped in the Miaoli County Government building. In Taian Township, rocks fell onto Highway 61, damaging four vehicles, fortunately without any reported casualties.

In response to the earthquake, the Taiwan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning. Mainland China experienced tremors in cities such as Xiamen, Fuzhou, Shenzhen, and Hangzhou. The Ministry of Natural Resources’ Tsunami Early Warning Center issued a Level I (red) tsunami warning. The Japan Meteorological Agency also issued tsunami warnings for multiple locations, including Miyako Island and Okinawa Island, anticipating waves as high as 3 meters. The Philippines likewise issued a tsunami warning, urging residents in 23 coastal areas to immediately evacuate to higher ground.

The Meteorological Agency stated that this is the largest earthquake in Taiwan since the 7.3 magnitude quake in Taichung on 21st September, 1999. There is a possibility of experiencing earthquakes with magnitudes of up to 7 in the next three days. As a result, 12 counties and cities have issued a national-level alert. However, there have been reports of some individuals not receiving the alerts, prompting the Meteorological Agency to investigate the cause.