7.4 Earthquake Leaves 4 Dead and Multiple Injured

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A deadly 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan early Wednesday morning, causing significant damage and resulting in casualties. The quake, the strongest to hit Taiwan in over two decades, rocked the eastern city of Hualien and unleashed a small tsunami off the coast of Japan’s Yonaguni island.

The earthquake claimed at least four lives, with three victims believed to have been crushed by falling rocks. More than 50 people were injured, requiring medical attention. Local media showed buildings in Hualien knocked off their foundations, and at least 26 buildings collapsed, trapping 20 people inside. Rescue efforts are currently underway to save those who remain trapped.

Videos posted on social media showed dramatic scenes of buildings leaning perilously and commuters struggling to maintain balance on a shaking train car. The quake also caused power outages in parts of the capital city, Taipei, and temporarily suspended train services across the country. However, life quickly returned to normal, with people resuming their daily activities shortly after the quake.

While Taiwan grappled with the aftermath, a small tsunami struck the coast of Japan’s Yonaguni island roughly 15 minutes after the earthquake. The tsunami warning was lifted after it was determined that the threat had passed. Japan had issued evacuation advisories for coastal areas near Okinawa and anticipated tsunami heights of up to 9.8 feet.

Taiwan is situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire and frequently experiences earthquakes of varying magnitudes. The country’s recent spate of tremors, including a 7.2 magnitude quake the day before, underscores the importance of disaster preparedness and stringent safety measures.

The quake’s magnitude was initially reported as 7.2 by Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency, while the US Geological Survey measured it at 7.4. A series of aftershocks followed, with one registering at a magnitude of 6.5. Taiwan has a history of powerful earthquakes, with the most devastating occurring in 1999 and claiming the lives of over 2,400 people.

The impact of this earthquake serves as a stark reminder of the region’s vulnerability to seismic activity. As the affected areas recover and rebuild, experts emphasize the need for ongoing vigilance and investment in earthquake-resistant infrastructure.