Taiwan suffers worst earthquake in 25 years: at least four dead and buildings collapsed

A 7.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
02 April 2024 Tuesday 10:21
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Taiwan suffers worst earthquake in 25 years: at least four dead and buildings collapsed

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake has caused a tsunami alert on the eastern coast of Taiwan and the Japanese archipelago of Okinawa, this Wednesday morning. Although the announced three-meter wave has not materialized, 26 buildings have been collapsed by the tremor, leaving dozens of people trapped. The latest official balance maintains the death toll at four but increases the number of injured to 711 and more than 70 people are still trapped in buildings.

At least one of the deceased was reportedly hit by rocks in an avalanche on a slope in the eastern region of Hualien. In this city, the earthquake has been classified as grade 6 higher, on an intensity scale that goes from 1 to 7. However, the first images would only marginally confirm such magnitude, which presupposes the collapse of concrete walls. In the Taiwanese capital, everyone has noticed the tremor, which lasted one minute, although the damage was concentrated in a single neighborhood and is currently being evaluated.

The acting president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, has asked the population to remain calm and take extreme precautions against the possibility of aftershocks. The earthquake, measuring 7.2 degrees, is the most intense suffered by the island in twenty-five years. Meanwhile, in Japan, where there was also evacuation of coastal areas in Okinawa, there was a sigh of relief when observing that the possible three-meter-high tsunami was reduced to a 30-centimeter wave. Both there and in the Philippines, the tsunami warning has been canceled.

In ancient Formosa, however, the Disaster Response Center is already mobilized and the army is on alert. The Taiwanese population was surprised by the earthquake at around 8 in the morning, when many were heading to work or their school. In Taipei, a minimum of 25 aftershocks have been recorded and the subway remained stopped for an hour. Some forty flights have had to be canceled or diverted throughout the island, where 87,000 homes have been left without power due to the earthquake. This was felt even in the Fujian province of mainland China.

The Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMC evacuated its workers, but they have already returned to the factories. Taiwan manufactures 80% of the most sophisticated chips, susceptible to minor tremors. TSMC shares lost 1.4% of their price at the opening of the session, while Foxconn fell 2%.

Both Tsai and the president-elect and current vice president, William Lai (Lai Ching-te), urged citizens to avoid taking elevators as much as possible, and also called for extreme caution when using candles or other types of of fire to avoid fires.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located in the sea, 25 kilometers southeast of Hualien, at a depth of 15 kilometers.

The director of the Earthquake Control Center, Wu Jianfu, stated in a press conference that it is the largest earthquake suffered by Taiwan in the last 25 years, since the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that in 1999 caused the death of 2,416 people. . Since then, the island has made great progress in anti-seismic measures, as demonstrated by the relatively small number of victims and the moderation of the damage, in the face of a similar attack.

Beyond the scare, the earthquake in a territory as rich as Taiwan has left unusual images spread on social networks, such as the pools of skyscrapers turned into waterfalls by the violence of the earthquake.