Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills seven, traps 77 By Reuters


With Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s worst earthquake in at least 25 years killed seven people on Wednesday, injured more than 700, and 77 were trapped in sewers and damaged buildings, officials said, as rescuers used ladders to help some people down. safe.

State television broadcast images of houses leaning over the mountains, in the sparsely populated eastern province of Hualien, near the site of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake off the coast at around 8 am (0000GMT).

Chang Yu-lin, 60, who works at a hospital in Taipei, the capital, said: “It was very strong.

The earthquake struck at a distance of 15.5 kilometers (9.6 miles), as people went to work and school, warning of a tsunami in southern Japan and the Philippines that was later removed.

The video showed rescuers using ladders to help people stuck in windows, while elsewhere there was a lot of shaking, as strong tremors in Taipei forced the subway to close briefly, although many lines resumed service.

Fire officials said about 60 of the 77 people trapped were caught in a street in the northern city of Hualien, with two Germans among those trapped in another street.

The government says there are 736 injured people.

President-elect Lai Ching-te, who is due to take office next month, will visit Hualien in the afternoon, his office said.

In Japan, the Japan Meteorological Agency put the earthquake at 7.7, saying that small tsunami waves had reached the southern part of Okinawa, while downgrading the tsunami warning to an advisory.

In the Philippines, seismology officials warned coastal residents in several provinces to evacuate to higher ground.

Chinese media said the quake was felt in the southeastern province of Fujian, while a Reuters witness said it was also felt in a shopping mall in Shanghai.

Aftershocks could be felt in Taipei, recorded more than 50 times, weather officials said.

Most power has been restored after the quake, power utility Taipower said, with the island’s two nuclear power plants unaffected.

Taiwan’s high-speed rail operator said no damage or injuries were reported on its trains, although services will be delayed as they run.

The main supplier of chips to Apple (NASDAQ: ) and Nvidia (NASDAQ: ), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, said it has eliminated some manufacturing processes and improved security.

“To ensure the safety of the workers, some fabrics were removed according to the company’s policy,” the semiconductor giant said in a statement, adding later that the workers will begin to return to work.

Taiwan’s benchmark share index closed up 0.6%, mainly due to the earthquake, while shares listed in Taipei’s TSMC fell 1.3%.

The news agency said the earthquake was the worst since 1999, which killed nearly 2,400 people and damaged or destroyed 50,000 homes.

Taiwan’s meteorological authorities said the intensity of the earthquake in Hualien province was the second highest at “Upper 6” on the intensity scale from 1 to 7.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said such an earthquake would bring down walls unless they were made of reinforced concrete, where people could not stand and had to crawl to move.

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