Taiwan Shaken: Deadliest Earthquake in 25 Years Claims Four Lives

On Wednesday, Taiwan was jolted by a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake, marking the most intense seismic event to strike the island in over 25 years. Tragically, the quake claimed the lives of four individuals and left over 50 others injured, primarily in the mountainous and thinly populated eastern county of Hualien, which bore the brunt of the impact at the epicenter. The widespread devastation prompted a tsunami warning for southern Japan and the Philippines, though it was later lifted. As Taiwan grapples with the aftermath, rescue efforts are underway to assist those affected and to assess the extent of the damage caused by this catastrophic event.

Taiwan Shaken: Deadliest Earthquake in 25 Years Claims Four Lives
Taiwan Shaken: Deadliest Earthquake in 25 Years Claims Four Lives

Devastation in Hualien: Rescue Efforts Underway as Buildings Collapse

In the aftermath of the powerful earthquake that struck Taiwan, particularly hitting the county of Hualien, the scale of destruction is becoming tragically apparent. Reports indicate that at least 26 buildings have collapsed, with over half of them located in Hualien. Approximately 20 individuals remain trapped under debris as rescue operations continue tirelessly.

Images broadcasted by Taiwan television stations depict the harrowing scenes of buildings leaning at precarious angles in Hualien. The quake, which occurred just offshore around 8 am local time (0000 GMT), caught people off guard as they were commuting to work and school.

According to Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration, the earthquake had a depth of 15.5 kilometers (9.6 miles), adding to the intensity of the impact. As the community in Hualien grapples with the aftermath, emergency responders are working diligently to save lives and provide assistance to those affected by this devastating natural disaster.

Eyewitness Accounts and Regional Impact: Taiwan Earthquake’s Reach

The seismic upheaval caused by the earthquake in Taiwan has left lasting impressions on eyewitnesses, with many describing the terror of feeling their surroundings on the verge of collapse. Chang Yu-Lin, a 60-year-old hospital worker in Taipei, vividly recounted the sensation, stating, “It was very strong. It felt as if the house was going to topple.”

Meanwhile, beyond Taiwan’s borders, the earthquake triggered concerns across the region. Japan’s weather agency reported the occurrence of several small tsunami waves in parts of the southern prefecture of Okinawa. Initially, a tsunami warning was issued but was later downgraded to an advisory. The agency estimated the earthquake’s magnitude at 7.7, underlining its significant impact.

Similarly, the Philippines Seismology Agency took precautionary measures, issuing warnings to residents in coastal areas of various provinces. Urging them to seek higher ground, the agency highlighted the potential danger posed by the seismic activity, further emphasizing the widespread regional implications of the earthquake in Taiwan.

Taiwan Shaken
Taiwan Shaken: Deadliest Earthquake in 25 Years

Impact Across Borders: Taiwan Earthquake Rattles Surrounding Regions

The seismic waves unleashed by the earthquake in Taiwan reverberated beyond its borders, causing tremors to be felt in China’s Fujian province and as far away as Shanghai, as reported by Chinese state media and witnesses. Despite the widespread reach of the quake, the Taipei city government indicated that no major damage was reported, and the city’s transportation system, including the MRT, resumed operations swiftly after the tremor subsided.

However, the aftermath of the earthquake left a significant portion of Taiwan grappling with power outages, affecting over 87,000 households. Fortunately, the country’s two nuclear power stations remained unaffected by the temblor. While Taiwan’s high-speed rail operator reported no damage or injuries, train services were temporarily disrupted for inspections.

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The seismic event also prompted semiconductor giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) to evacuate some of its fabrication plants as a precautionary measure. Despite the disruptions, TSMC assured that its safety systems were functioning normally and that evacuated personnel were gradually returning to their workplaces.

Financial markets responded to the earthquake, with shares of TSMC, Apple supplier Foxconn, and flat panel maker Au Optronics experiencing declines in early trade. The quake’s magnitude, the largest since 1999, underscored its severity, with Taiwan’s official central news agency noting its resemblance to one of the island’s worst-recorded quakes in recent history.

According to Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration, the earthquake registered the second-highest intensity of an “Upper 6” in Hualien county, indicating extensive damage potential. In such earthquakes, the collapse of unreinforced concrete-block walls is common, making it difficult for individuals to remain standing or move without crawling, as outlined by the Japan Meteorological Agency. more

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