Taipei: A powerful earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter Scale rocked Taiwan’s eastern shores on Wednesday leaving residents rattled and authorities on high alert. The US Geological Survey (USGS) confirmed the quake’s magnitude, describing it as a “notable quake” with its epicentre located in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 25.0 kilometres south-southeast of Hualien County Hall.



The quake’s depth was measured at 15.5 kilometres, according to the Seismology Center of Taiwan’s Central News Agency.



Tsunami Warnings Issued Across Japan

Japan’s Meteorological Agency swiftly issued tsunami warnings for remote Japanese islands, including the Miyakojima island, in the wake of the earthquake off Taiwan’s coast. Residents were cautioned to prepare for waves as high as three meters (10 feet), heightening concerns for coastal communities in the affected regions.



Alert Across Taiwan

Reports of the earthquake’s impact varied across Taiwan, with intensity levels of 5+ reported in Yilan County and Miaoli County, and 5- in several northern and central regions including Taipei City, New Taipei City, and Taichung City. The seismic event prompted the suspension of metro systems in major cities like Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung, disrupting daily routines for commuters.

In Japan, anticipation gripped coastal areas as authorities warned of potential tsunami surges. Tsunami alerts were issued for southwestern Japan’s Miyakojima and Yaeyama regions, along with Okinawa Prefecture’s main island. Residents were urged to evacuate promptly to higher ground or secure locations to ensure their safety.

Echoes Of Past Tragedies

For many in Taiwan, memories of past seismic disasters resurfaced. Wu Chien-fu, director of Taipei’s Central Weather Administration’s Seismology Center, noted the quake’s significant impact, recalling it as the ”strongest” since the devastating earthquake of 1999. The tragic event claimed thousands of lives, serving as a stark reminder of the island’s vulnerability to natural disasters.

“The earthquake is close to land and it’s shallow. It’s felt all over Taiwan and offshore islands,” said Wu Chien-fu, director of Taipei’s Central Weather Administration’s Seismology Center. “It’s the strongest in 25 years since the (1999) earthquake,” he told reporters. 

Heightened Vigilance Amidst Uncertainty

As the situation unfolds, both Taiwan and Japan remain on high alert, bracing for potential aftershocks and assessing the extent of damage. With forecasters predicting tsunami waves of up to three meters in height, vigilance and precautionary measures are paramount to safeguarding lives and minimizing the impact of this natural disaster.

A 7.6-magnitude quake hit Taiwan in September 1999, killing around 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s history.


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