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21 July, 2024
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Taiwan hit by 7.4 magnitude earthquake, strongest in 25 years

Four dead as Taiwan grapples with massive quake


Taiwan experienced its most powerful earthquake in a quarter century, disrupting the morning rush hour and claiming four lives. As AP reports, the quake struck just before 8 a.m., with its epicenter near Hualien County, causing widespread damage to buildings and highways.

According to Taiwan's national fire agency, four fatalities were reported in Hualien County, with at least 57 individuals sustaining injuries. Tragically, three hikers lost their lives in rockslides in Taroko National Park.

The impact of the quake was evident in the structural damage across the region. In Hualien, a five-story building suffered significant damage, collapsing its first floor and leaving the rest at a precarious angle. Similarly, in Taipei, tiles fell from older buildings, while newer office complexes also experienced debris fall.

As a safety measure, schools evacuated students to open spaces, providing them with yellow safety helmets and even using textbooks as shields against falling objects amidst ongoing aftershocks.

Transportation services were severely affected, with train and subway services suspended across the island. Traffic along the east coast came to a standstill due to landslides and debris blocking tunnels and highways.

Despite Taiwan's familiarity with earthquakes and regular preparedness drills, the intensity of this quake caused widespread panic. Many residents, like Hsien-hsuen Keng from Taipei, described the experience as particularly frightening.

The earthquake also had ripple effects beyond Taiwan, with reports of shaking felt in Shanghai and several provinces along China's southeastern coast. Fortunately, there were no reports of significant damage or injuries in Japan, and the Philippines avoided a major tsunami threat.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center confirmed that there was no threat to Hawaii or Guam, but waves were reported in Taiwan and southern Japan. Taiwan's location along the Pacific "Ring of Fire" underscores its vulnerability to seismic activity, emphasizing the importance of continued vigilance and preparedness in the region.

[With information sourced from AP]

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