7.7-magnitude earthquake hits Taiwan: 1 killed; Japan issues tsunami alert

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7.7-magnitude earthquake hits Taiwan: 1 killed; Japan issues tsunami alert

Taiwan: A strong 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan’s east shortly before 8 am local time on Wednesday, April 3, prompting tsunami warnings for the self-ruled island as well as parts of southern Japan. The Philippines also issued a tsunami warning and ordered the evacuation of coastal areas after the Taiwan quake.
Taiwan’s fire department said one person is suspected to have been crushed to death by falling rocks in the mountainous, sparsely populated eastern county of Hualien where the epicentre was, with more than 50 injured.
At least 26 buildings have collapsed, more than half in Hualien, with about 20 people trapped and rescue work ongoing, it said.

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While the United States Geological Survey or USGS said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.4, with its epicentre 18 kilometres south of Taiwan’s Hualien City at a depth of 34.8 km, Japan’s Meteorological Agency put the magnitude at 7.7.

The earthquake that hit Taiwan’s east was “the strongest in 25 years”, said the director of Taipei’s Seismology Centre. “The earthquake is close to land and it’s shallow. It’s felt all over Taiwan and offshore islands… it’s the strongest in 25 years since the (1999) earthquake,” Wu Chien-fu told reporters, referring to a September 1999 quake with 7.6-magnitude that killed 2,400 people. Follow Live Updates on Taiwan earthquake

A five-story building in lightly populated Hualien appeared heavily damaged, collapsing its first floor and leaving the rest leaning at a 45-degree angle. In the capital, Taipei, tiles fell from older buildings and within some newer office complexes.

NEWS

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