Taiwan.  Great earthquake.  Buildings collapsed.  Tsunami warnings in Japan and the Philippines

The largest earthquake in 25 years has struck Taiwan, causing dozens of buildings to collapse and damaging many others. According to various research centers, the magnitude of the earthquake ranged between 7.2 and 7.7. The government in Taipei said at least seven people were killed and more than 700 others were injured. Many may be trapped under the rubble. 101 aftershocks were recorded. Japanese authorities issued the first tsunami warning in 26 years for the islands of Okinawa Prefecture.

The Taiwan Meteorological Agency announced that the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.2, but before that, at 4 a.m. in Poland, its Japanese counterpart reported that estimates had risen and had been raised to 7.7.

The epicenter of the earthquake was off the coast, about 25 kilometers southeast of Hualien County. According to Reuters, residents of the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, were shocked.

At least seven people were killed and more than 700 injured, the government in Taipei announced in a statement immediately afterward at 8 a.m. in Poland (2 p.m. local time).

Many people may still be under the rubble. Reuters reported just before 8 a.m. in Poland that at least 26 buildings had collapsed (more than half of them in Hualien). At the same time, the agency, citing the fire brigade, indicated that 22 people were rescued from one of the most damaged buildings, and only one person is still missing.

In the hours following the earthquake, 101 aftershocks were recorded, the strongest of which reached a magnitude of 6.5.

Taiwan. Kaoliao Bridge in the east of the country was destroyed in the earthquakeSam Yeh/AFP/Eastern News

Local television showed footage from Hualien City. Wu Xinfu, director of the Taipei Seismological Center, told reporters, “This is the strongest earthquake to hit Taiwan in 25 years, since the 1999 earthquake,” referring to the 7.6-magnitude earthquake that killed 2,400 people in September 1999.

“Authorities are now investigating what happened with the security alert because people were supposed to be notified about a possible earthquake, but only some of them received a warning,” NPR correspondent Emily Feng told the BBC from Taipei, Taiwan's capital.

Feng said Taipei is calm because “people are prepared for such situations.” The reporter also reported that electricity and the Internet are available in the capital.

Strong earthquake in TaiwanDaniel Singh/PAP/EPA

Tsunami warning

Japanese authorities issued a tsunami warning for the islands of Okinawa Prefecture. Waves three meters high are expected. NHK reported that this was the first tsunami warning in Okinawa in 26 years.

The Philippine Seismological Agency also issued a tsunami warning. The agency warned that high tsunami waves are expected in coastal areas along the Pacific Ocean.

It advised residents in coastal areas in several provinces to immediately evacuate to higher areas or move inland.

Main image source: Sam Yeh/AFP/Eastern News

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