7.4 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Taiwan, Strongest in 25 Years

A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off the east coast of Taiwan on Wednesday, with one reported dead and many injured, triggering tsunami alerts in the region and nearby countries.

The earthquake’s epicenter was identified roughly 18km (11 miles) south of Hualien city in Taiwan, according to reports from the US Geological Survey.

In Hualien, several buildings suffered partial collapses, with some appearing dangerously tilted.

This event marks the strongest earthquake to strike Taiwan in 25 years, according to seismology officials.

In response to the quake, the Taiwanese chipmaking giant TSMC evacuated facilities in Hsinchu and the southern parts of Taiwan to protect employees, stating that its safety mechanisms were fully functional.

TSMC plays a crucial role globally as it manufactures semiconductors for companies like Apple and Nvidia.

Footage from Taipei shows severe shaking of buildings, causing items to fall off shelves and furniture to overturn.

Social media footage from the highly mountainous areas of Taiwan displays massive landslides triggered by the earthquake, with the full extent of the damage yet to be determined.

Local media coverage includes images of destroyed homes and the evacuation of people from residential areas and educational institutions. The earthquake also resulted in damaged vehicles and scattered merchandise in stores, as shown by TVBS.

Island-wide, there have been reports of electricity and internet disruptions, as noted by the internet monitoring group NetBlocks.

The quake, which occurred at 07:58 local time (23:58 GMT) at a depth of 15.5km, led to at least nine significant aftershocks with magnitudes of 4 or above.

Japan faced tsunami warnings indicating that waves up to 3m could hit its southwestern coastline, although these warnings were later revised with an advisory to stay alert for similarly intense aftershocks over the next week.

Following the quake, the Philippines’ seismology authority issued a tsunami warning, advising people to move to higher ground.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, about two hours post-quake, announced that the tsunami threat “has now passed.”

In China, the southeastern Fujian province experienced tremors, as reported by Chinese state media.

“The earthquake is close to land and it’s shallow. It’s felt all over Taiwan and offshore islands… It’s the strongest in 25 years,” said Wu Chien Fu, the director of Taipei’s Seismology Centre.

A reminder of the earthquake’s destructive potential, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake in September 1999 in Taiwan resulted in 2,400 deaths and the collapse of 5,000 buildings.