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Taiwan Struck by Strongest Earthquake in 25 Years, Triggering Tsunami Warnings

A powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake shook Taiwan’s eastern coast on Wednesday, leading to tsunami alerts in the region and neighboring countries.

The quake’s epicenter was approximately 18 kilometers (11 miles) south of Hualien city in Taiwan, as reported by the US Geological Survey.

In Hualien, several buildings have suffered partial collapses, appearing precariously tilted at various angles.

According to seismology officials, this earthquake marks the strongest to hit Taiwan in a quarter-century.

Taiwan’s semiconductor giant, TSMC, took precautionary measures by evacuating some of its factories in Hsinchu and southern Taiwan to ensure staff safety. However, TSMC assured that its safety protocols remain fully operational.

TSMC plays a crucial role as a major semiconductor supplier for tech giants like Apple and Nvidia.

In the extremely hilly interior of Taiwan, the earthquake has caused landslides.

In Taipei, dramatic footage captured buildings swaying violently, causing objects to fly off shelves and furniture to topple.

In the rugged mountainous regions of Taiwan, social media videos depict massive landslides triggered by the earthquake, with the full extent of the damage yet to be determined.

Local media coverage shows collapsed residential structures and ongoing evacuations from homes and schools. Additionally, the earthquake’s impact has resulted in damaged vehicles and stores in disarray, as shown by TVBS broadcasts.

Reports of power outages and internet disruptions have surfaced across the island, according to monitoring by NetBlocks.

The earthquake struck at 07:58 local time (23:58 GMT), reaching a depth of 15.5 kilometers and generating at least nine significant aftershocks with magnitudes of 4 or higher.

inside a New Taipei City housing complex

In Japan, authorities initially warned of potential tsunami waves up to 3 meters along the southwestern coast but later downgraded the alert, urging continued vigilance for aftershocks of similar intensity over the next week.

The Philippines’ seismology agency also issued a tsunami warning post-quake, advising residents to seek higher ground for safety.

Following updates from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, the tsunami threat has subsided.

Chinese state media reported tremors felt in parts of Fujian province, emphasizing the earthquake’s widespread impact due to its proximity and shallow depth.

Wu Chien Fu, director of Taipei’s Seismology Centre, remarked, “The earthquake is significant due to its proximity to land and shallow depth, causing widespread tremors across Taiwan and offshore islands. This event marks the strongest earthquake in the region in 25 years.”

The last major earthquake of this scale in Taiwan occurred in September 1999, resulting in significant casualties and structural damage.

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