Taiwan earthquake: Nine dead and 800 injured in 7.4-magnitude quake

Thousands of homes are left without power as rescue workers search for survivors

Taiwan hit by most powerful earthquake in 25 years

Taiwan hit by most powerful earthquake in 25 years
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A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan on Wednesday, the strongest to hit the island in at least 25 years.

Local television stations showed partially collapsed buildings in Taiwan's eastern county of Hualien, near the quake's epicentre. Electricity operator Taipower said more than 87,000 households in Taiwan were without power.

At least nine people have been confirmed dead and more than 800 are injured as emergency services continue to search for victims and assess damage.

The quake also sparked a tsunami warning for the islands of southern Japan and the Philippines, although authorities there said the warning was cancelled early on Wednesday.

Taiwan's government said 77 people were still trapped in toppled buildings and rubble after the quake, which measured magnitude 7.4, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Television footage showed neighbours and rescue workers helping trapped people out of buildings through windows.

Strong tremors in Taipei led authorities to close the subway system briefly, while elsewhere there were major mudslides.

Fire authorities said they were slowly evacuating people trapped in tunnels near Hualien city, including two Germans.

But they had lost contact with 50 travellers in four minibuses that had been heading to a hotel in a national park, Taroko Gorge, they said, without giving any more details.

Significant economic impact

The quake hit at 7.58am at a depth of 15.5km, just off the eastern coast of Taiwan, according to the island's Central Weather Administration. Reports from China said the earthquake was felt in Shanghai, nearly 900km away.

The government in Taipei said no major damage had been reported in the capital.

Japan's weather agency downgraded an earlier tsunami warning to an advisory.

Early reports also suggest the quake will have a significant economic effect, particularly on Taiwan's semiconductor manufacturing sector.

It provides about 50 per cent of the world's “legacy” microchips used in medical devices, car electronics and weapons.

By some estimates, Taiwan also manufactures about 90 per cent of the world's most advanced microchips, used in devices from smartphones to supercomputers.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company said it evacuated some fabrication plants and its safety systems were operating normally.

Formosa Petrochemical also shut down operations at the Mailiao refinery in the west of the island as a precautionary measure, the company said.

Updated: April 03, 2024, 12:23 PM