powerful earthquake leaves dozens injured

powerful earthquake leaves dozens injured

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake that occurred this Wednesday, April 3 off the coast of Taiwan, the most violent in 25 years, left four dead and dozens injured on the island, and prompted Japan and the Philippines to issue alerts to the tsunami.

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One person reported killed by falling rocks in eastern Hualien county Taiwannear the epicenter of the earthquake, firefighters said, adding that more than 50 people had been injured.

At least 26 buildings have collapsed in the city of Hualien and nearly 20 people are trapped under the rubble, firefighters added. Images broadcast by Taiwanese television channels showed buildings in a precarious balance in Hualien. The earthquake struck around 8:00 a.m. (00:00 UT) off the east coast of Taiwan, as residents were leaving for school or work.

The region on tsunami alert

The earthquake occurred at a depth of 15.5 kilometers, according to the Central Administration of Meteorology in Taiwan. Japan’s meteorological agency said several small tsunami waves reached shores in southern Okinawa Prefecture in the south of the archipelago. The tsunami warning issued earlier by the authorities has been lifted.

The Philippine seismological agency also issued an alert asking residents of coastal regions of several provinces to evacuate to higher places. Taiwan also issued a tsunami warning. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii later said the risk of a powerful wave had passed. Chinese state media said the quake was felt in the southeastern province of Fujian, and a Reuters witness said the tremor was also felt in Shanghai.

“Still people under the rubble”

Aftershocks were felt in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, and the island’s Central Meteorological Administration said 25 aftershocks had so far been recorded. “ Currently, there are still people under the rubble, so it’s a little difficult to get an exact assessment, tells our correspondent in Taipei, Valentin Floquet. What we can say is that there was more fear than harm for the Taiwanese this morning of April 3. Basically, it is more material losses than human losses that can be recorded so far. On the other hand, there have been some problems with infrastructure, notably with a metro line in Taipei, whose lines have shifted by one meter on an overhead bridge and whose line is, for moment, completely interrupted. »

More than 87,000 homes were still without electricity on the island, according to the public electricity supplier, Taipower. The island’s two nuclear power plants were not affected by the quake, Taipower said.

According to Taiwan’s official news agency, it is the most violent earthquake to hit the island since 1999, when a magnitude 7.6 earthquake killed 2,400 people and damaged 50,000 buildings. .