Largest quake in 25 years strikes Taiwan, killing 9, injuring 900

TV images show collapsed buildings in the eastern part of the island.
By Taejun Kang for RFA
2024.04.02
Taipei, Taiwan
Largest quake in 25 years strikes Taiwan, killing 9, injuring 900 Members of a rescue team search for survivors in a damaged building in Hualien, Taiwan, April 3, 2024.
Hualien Fire Department via AFP

Updated on April 3, 2024, at 8:40 a.m. ET

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Taiwan on Wednesday morning, shaking buildings off their foundations and leaving at least nine persons dead and 900 injured, officials said.

The epicenter of the quake, which struck at 7:58 a.m., was off the eastern coast of Taiwan, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) south-southeast of Hualien County Hall, at a depth of 15.5 kilometers, according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration, or CWA.

TV broadcasters showed images of collapsed buildings in Hualien, reporting that people were trapped inside. Some buildings were left leaning at angles. 

The quake was magnitude 7.4, according to the United States Geological Survey.

It was the biggest to hit the island since 1999, when a magnitude 7.6 tremor killed around 2,400 people, said Taiwan’s official central news agency.

The earthquake’s impact was felt across the island, leading to the suspension of metro services in Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung.

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Residents rescue a child from a partially collapsed building after an earthquake in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (TVBS via AP)

After the initial quake, the island was rattled by a strong aftershock of magnitude 6.5, and other aftershocks followed through the day, the USGS said.

Taiwan's fire department reported nine dead and more than 900 injured. Some 56 people were reported trapped in rubble in Hualien.

Tsunami warning issued, then lifted

Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued an evacuation advisory for Okinawa’s coastal regions due to an expected tsunami. The warning was later lifted. 

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A partially collapsed building is seen after an earthquake in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (TVBS via AP)

The quake could be felt as far as Shanghai, according to a Reuters witness, while Chinese state-run media reported that it was felt in Fuzhou, Xiamen, Quanzhou and Ningde in China's Fujian province.

In Taiwan, the Associated Press reported that the quake and aftershocks caused 24 landslides and damage to 35 roads, bridges and tunnels. 

Edited by Malcolm Foster.

Updated with death toll, details and revising the magnitude of the quake.

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