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7 Dead, 700 Injured As Powerful Earthquake Strikes Taiwan

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In a devastating seismic event, Taiwan experienced its most powerful earthquake in 25 years early Wednesday morning, resulting in at least seven fatalities and over 700 injuries.

The earthquake, which caused significant building damage across the island, was felt strongly due to its shallow depth and proximity to land.

According to Wu Chien-fu, director of Taipei’s Central Weather Administration’s Seismology Center, “The earthquake is close to land and it’s shallow. It’s felt all over Taiwan and offshore islands.” This intensity prompted tsunami warnings across Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines, which were later lifted.

Officials have described the quake as the strongest since the tragic 7.6-magnitude earthquake in September 1999, which remains the deadliest natural disaster in Taiwan’s history with approximately 2,400 deaths. Wednesday’s 7.4-magnitude quake struck near Hualien City, at a depth of 34.8 kilometers, as reported by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

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Tragedy struck early as three hikers were crushed by boulders, and a truck driver died due to a landslide. All fatalities were reported in Hualien county, a region severely affected by the quake. The National Fire Agency confirmed the toll of 736 injured, highlighting the widespread impact of this natural disaster.

Images and videos circulating on social media captured the quake’s terrifying moments, with buildings swaying dangerously. Notably, a warehouse in New Taipei City collapsed, leading to over 50 rescues from the debris. Local efforts to clear landslide-blocked roads to Hualien have been underway, as the community comes to grips with the quake’s aftermath.

President Tsai Ing-wen has called for a coordinated response between local and central government agencies, with military support on standby. The quake’s regional effects were felt as far as Japan, the Philippines, and China, with tsunami warnings initially issued but later withdrawn.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, a global chip manufacturing giant, experienced brief interruptions in its operations, indicating the quake’s economic ripple effects. Taiwan, known for its seismic activity due to its location at the junction of two tectonic plates, alongside Japan, remains vigilant for potential aftershocks.

The international community, including China, has expressed readiness to offer disaster relief assistance to Taiwan.

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