April 16, 2024

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A 7.4-magnitude earthquake strikes an area near Taiwan, shaking the island and triggering tsunami warnings

A 7.4-magnitude earthquake strikes an area near Taiwan, shaking the island and triggering tsunami warnings

A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck off eastern Taiwan on Wednesday morning local time, sparking tsunami warnings.

The quake occurred about 11 miles from Hualien City, Taiwan, according to the USGS, shaking the entire island and collapsing buildings. It was followed by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake.

The US Tsunami Warning System issued a warning of the possibility of dangerous tsunami waves for coasts within 300 kilometers (about 186 miles) of the epicenter, saying that China, Taiwan and Japan could be affected.

Japan also issued a tsunami warning for the Okinawa island group in southern Japan, and the Japan Meteorological Agency expected a tsunami of up to three meters high. About half an hour later, she said it was believed that the first wave of the tsunami had already reached the coasts of Miyako and Yaeyama islands.

A five-story building in the sparsely populated city of Hualien appeared severely damaged, causing the first floor to collapse and leaving the rest leaning at a 45-degree angle. In the capital, Taipei, tiles fell from older buildings and inside some newer office complexes.

Train service has been suspended throughout the island of 23 million people, as has subway service in Taipei. But things quickly returned to normal in the capital, where children seemed to go to school and the morning commute seemed normal.

The head of Taiwan's Earthquake Monitoring Bureau, Wu Chien-fu, said traces had been discovered as far away as Kinmen, a Taiwan-controlled island off the coast of China. Residents of Taipei felt several aftershocks in the hour following the initial quake.

The quake is believed to be the largest in Taiwan since the 1999 earthquake, which caused massive damage. Taiwan lies along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” the seismic fault line surrounding the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes occur.

This is a breaking news update. Please check back for developments.

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