A strong earthquake rocks Taiwan, collapsing buildings and causing a tsunami

In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. A powerful earthquake rocked the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, collapsing buildings in a city and creating a tsunami that washed ashore on Japanese islands. (TVBS via AP) (AP)


A strong earthquake shook Taiwan early Wednesday, causing buildings to collapse in a southern city and generating a tsunami that affected southern Japanese islands. In Hualien, a five-story building sustained severe damage, with its first floor collapsing and the rest tilting at a 45-degree angle. In Taipei, tiles fell from older buildings and some newer office complexes were affected. Train and subway services were halted across the island, but resumed shortly after in Taipei, where daily activities, including school and commuting, resumed as usual.


The Japan Meteorological Agency reported that a 30-centimeter tsunami wave was observed on the coast of Yonaguni Island approximately 15 minutes after the earthquake occurred. They also stated that waves probably reached the shores of Miyako and Yaeyama islands. Japan's Self-Defense Force dispatched aircraft to assess the tsunami's effects in the Okinawa region and made preparations to set up shelters for evacuees if needed.


In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. A powerful earthquake rocked the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, collapsing buildings in a southern city and creating a tsunami that washed ashore on southern Japanese islands. (TVBS via AP) (AP)

Taiwan's earthquake monitoring agency reported a magnitude of 7.2, while the US Geological Survey estimated it at 7.4. The earthquake occurred at 7:58 am, approximately 18 kilometers south-southwest of Hualien, with a depth of about 35 kilometers (21 miles). Wu Chien-fu, the head of Taiwan's earthquake monitoring bureau, noted that effects were observed as far as Kinmen, a Taiwanese-controlled island near the coast of China. Multiple aftershocks were felt in Taipei within the hour following the initial quake.


According to the USGS, one of the subsequent earthquakes measured 6.5 magnitude and occurred at a depth of 11.8 kilometers (7 miles). The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center confirmed that there was no tsunami risk for Hawaii or the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. This earthquake is believed to be the most significant in Taiwan since a tremor in 1999 caused widespread damage. Taiwan is situated along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a zone of seismic activity encircling the Pacific Ocean, where the majority of the world's earthquakes take place

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