Destructive earthquake in Taiwan – Buildings collapsed, tsunami warning | Liberal


At least one person died and 50 others were injured, according to the first, still preliminary report released by the fire department, due to the very strong earthquake, with a magnitude greater than 7, that struck Taiwan in the morning, causing the collapsing at least two buildings in Hualien County and triggering the issuance of emergency tsunami warnings both on the island and in neighboring countries, notably southern Japan and the Philippines.

Footage broadcast by Taiwanese television networks showed buildings leaning dangerously, especially in sparsely populated Hualien County in the eastern part of the country.

“Two buildings have collapsed (…) there may be people trapped,” a spokesman for the Hualien Fire Department said earlier.

The earthquake caused power outages in parts of the capital Taipei when it struck at 07:58 (local time; 02:58 Greek time) at a depth of 15.5 km, in a sea area off the east coast of Taiwan, according to the weather service and seismological service of the island.

According to Taipower, an electricity company, at least 87,000 households are without electricity.

According to the Japan Meteorological and Seismological Service, small tsunami waves, no larger than a few tens of centimeters, were observed in the southern prefecture of Okinawa. Authorities downgraded the risk of a tsunami of more than 3 meters and lifted the order to evacuate coastal areas. At the same time, the Japanese seismological agency revised upwards its assessment of the earthquake, speaking of a tremor of 7.7 degrees (from 7.5).

The Philippine seismological agency also issued an emergency tsunami warning, urging coastal residents to rush to higher ground.

The earthquake was felt as far away as Shanghai, China, as well as – much more – in areas of southern China. Beijing, expressing concern, offered to send aid to Taipei.

Dozens of aftershocks were felt in Taipei – at least 25 -, five of about magnitude 5, in the first hour after the main quake.

It is the strongest earthquake on the island “in twenty-five years,” according to the director of the Taipei Seismological Center, Wu Chien-fu. “The earthquake occurred near the coast and at a shallow focal depth. It was felt across Taiwan and neighboring areas (…) It is the strongest in 25 years, since the 1999 earthquake,” Mr. Wu told reporters, referring to the disaster in September that year, when a magnitude 7 earthquake .6 degrees claimed the lives of some 2,400 people and destroyed or seriously damaged some 50,000 buildings.

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