Taiwan: images of the powerful earthquake which left at least nine dead and more than 900 injured

Taiwan: images of the powerful earthquake which left at least nine dead and more than 900 injured

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An underwater earthquake with a magnitude greater than 7 occurred on Wednesday in Taiwan. It is the most powerful to hit the island in 25 years. At least nine people died and more than 900 were injured, according to the latest provisional report from the authorities.

The magnitude of the earthquake was estimated at 7.5 by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 7.4 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and 7.2 by the Taiwan Meteorological Agency (CWA). ). It occurred shortly before 8 a.m. local time (00:00 GMT), according to these agencies, and was followed by several aftershocks. Its epicenter was detected at shallow seas off the eastern coast of Taiwan.

In Hualien County, near the epicenter, in the east of the island, violent tremors were felt on the roads, in transport, in offices and even live on a local television channel, as evidenced by videos shared on social networks.

All deaths occurred in Hualien County. Three of the victims died on a hiking trail, crushed by rocks caused by the earthquake. Another victim, a truck driver, was killed in a landslide while approaching a tunnel. Authorities did not immediately indicate the circumstances of the other deaths, and revised the number of people injured upwards to 946, without specifying the seriousness of the injuries.

Strict construction rules and good preparation for natural disasters appear to have avoided a major disaster for the island, which is regularly hit by earthquakes. In Hualien and elsewhere, multi-story buildings tilted dangerously from the earthquake, while a warehouse in New Taipei Municipality collapsed. The city’s mayor said more than 60 survivors had been pulled from the ruins of the building.

The main roads leading to the city pass through numerous tunnels and authorities fear vehicles and passengers could be trapped inside. “We must carefully check how many people are trapped and we must rescue them quickly,” Vice President Lai Ching-te told reporters.

In Hualien, this seven-story red building tilted about 60 degrees

AFP/CNA AFP or licensors

Second building partially collapsed in Hualien, trapping people

CNA/AFP
CNA/AFP

Firefighters are mobilized to try to rescue victims trapped under the rubble

CNA/AFP
CNA/AFP

Damage was also noted in businesses…

CNA/AFP
CNA/AFP

…and homes

REUTERS/Fabian Hamacher
REUTERS/Fabian Hamacher

Naha Airport temporarily suspended air traffic

JIJI Press / AFP
JIJI Press / AFP AFP or licensors

The earthquake initially triggered tsunami warnings in Taiwan, the southwestern islands of Japan and several provinces in the Philippines, where people in coastal areas were urged to seek higher ground. Japanese and Philippine authorities eventually canceled their alerts, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center announced around 2 a.m. GMT that “the tsunami threat has now largely passed,” while calling on residents in coastal areas to remain cautious. .



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