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Deadly 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Taiwan Sparking Tsunami Warning

Taiwan is rocked by a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday, marking the strongest tremor to hit the island in at least 25 years. The quake, centered in the mountainous, sparsely populated eastern county of Hualien, resulted in the tragic loss of four lives, with over 50 individuals sustaining injuries.

The seismic event, which struck just offshore around 8 a.m. local time, caused widespread devastation, with at least 26 buildings collapsing, over half of which were in Hualien. Rescue efforts are underway as approximately 20 individuals remain trapped beneath the rubble.

Residents across Taiwan, including in the capital city of Taipei, were shaken by the tremors, describing the experience as frightening and intense. The quake, with a depth of 15.5km, was felt as far away as China’s Fujian province and Shanghai, underscoring its significant impact across the region.

The aftermath of the earthquake also triggered tsunami warnings for southern Japan and the Philippines, raising concerns of potential coastal inundation. Although several small tsunami waves were observed in parts of Japan, the warnings were later downgraded, and no significant damage was reported in Taiwan from the tsunami threat.

Despite the widespread destruction and disruptions caused by the earthquake, Taiwan’s infrastructure largely withstood the impact, with the Taipei city government reporting no major damage to key facilities such as the metro system. However, over 87,000 households remained without power, and transportation services experienced delays as safety inspections were carried out.

In the wake of the quake, semiconductor giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) evacuated some fabrication plants as a precautionary measure. While initial assessments indicated no significant damage, shares of TSMC and other major companies, including Apple supplier Foxconn and flat panel maker Au Optronics, experienced declines in early trading.

This earthquake serves as a stark reminder of the seismic risks faced by Taiwan and neighboring regions. With memories of past devastating earthquakes still fresh, authorities and residents remain vigilant as they work together to recover from the latest natural disaster and mitigate its impacts on affected communities.

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