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Nine killed, over 800 injured as 7.3-magnitude quake rocks Taiwan

Taipei, April 3, 2024
At least nine people were killed and 800 others injured after a 7.3-magnitude quake jolted Taiwan on Wednesday morning, according to the local emergency operation centre.

Data from the centre showed that about 821 people were injured following the earthquake that hit the sea area near Hualien County, Taiwan, Xinhua news agency reported.

Due to the earthquake, a nearly 40-year-old building in Hualien has tilted severely. Multiple trapped residents have been rescued, but one woman remains missing.

According to an official from Taiwan transportation authorities, the railway linking Yilan County and Hualien has been severely disrupted, with multiple collapses and falling rocks reported.

Ongoing aftershocks in Hualien have hindered repair personnel from accessing affected areas, the official said.

The official stated that the current priority is to restore the Taiwan railway service, saying dual-track travel on the rail line section connecting Yilan and Hualien is expected to be restored by Thursday noon.

The earthquake was strongly felt in many parts of Taiwan. In Taipei, the earthquake caused damage to some school buildings. According to statistics from the Taipei education authorities, as of Wednesday noon, 201 schools and kindergartens reported that they had sustained damages, with six schools announcing class suspensions.

Taichung City, located near Hualien, also experienced severe shaking. The earthquake led to two incidents where falling rocks struck cars, resulting in 2 injuries. Additionally, the earthquake temporarily caused power outages for over 14,000 households in Taichung.

Taiwan’s meteorological agency called the earthquake the strongest one to hit the island in 25 years since a deadly quake struck on Sept. 21, 1999.

A spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said that the mainland is highly concerned about the situation and extends sincere sympathy to the Taiwan compatriots affected by the disaster.

Following the earthquake, the Ministry of Natural Resources warning center issued tsunami alerts, which have been lifted as of press time.

The quake triggered a local tsunami near the epicenter, causing a disastrous impact on parts of Taiwan’s coastal areas, the warning center said, adding that the tsunami disaster process had ended.

According to Taiwan’s meteorological agency, the epicenter of the earthquake was located 25 km south-southeast of Hualien. The maximum intensity recorded was 6 magnitude in Hualien County.

Local authorities have announced the suspension of work and school classes in Hualien.

Multiple residential buildings partially collapsed in Hualien, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents. Falling rocks were also reported in hilly areas.

A rubber factory building in New Taipei City collapsed due to the quake.

Subways in multiple counties and cities on the island have been temporarily suspended. In Taipei, intense shaking lasting at least one minute led to the suspension of metro operations for 40 to 60 minutes.

Multiple aftershocks measuring above 5.0 magnitude hit Hualien and nearby areas.

Taiwan’s meteorological agency also predicted earthquakes measuring magnitude 7 might happen in the next three days.(Agency)

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