Earthquake in Taiwan: rescue teams rush to help victims of tremor that killed at least 9 people

Earthquake in Taiwan: rescue teams rush to help victims of tremor that killed at least 9 people
Earthquake in Taiwan: rescue teams rush to help victims of tremor that killed at least 9 people
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Credit, TVBS

Photo caption,

Several buildings collapsed due to the strong tremor

Article information
  • author, Kelly Ng and Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
  • Roll, BBC News
  • 36 minutes ago

Rescue teams are racing against time to help the victims of an earthquake that hit the east coast of Taiwan this Wednesday (3/4), leaving at least nine people dead.

The 7.4 magnitude tremor caused the collapse of several buildings in Hualien, the city closest to the epicenter.

More than 700 people were injured — and rescue teams are trying to help around 77 who are “trapped” in buildings and tunnels that collapsed around the city.

It is the strongest seismic shock that the Asian country has suffered in 25 years.

“The earthquake occurred close to the surface, at shallow depth. It was felt throughout Taiwan, and on the coastal islands… It is the strongest in 25 years,” said Wu Chien Fu, director of the Taipei Seismology Center.

In September 1999, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan, killing 2,400 people and destroying 5,000 buildings.

Child being rescued from the roof of the house

Credit, TVBS

Photo caption,

Rescue operations are underway in different areas of Taiwan’s east coast

Hualien, 18 kilometers from the epicenter of the earthquake, is located on the east coast of Taiwan in a vast mountainous region.

As the main roads and railway lines connecting Hualien to the rest of Taiwan are now down, rescuers will likely have to enter the region by air.

The city has a population of around 300,000 — and is close to Taroko National Park, a popular tourist destination.

On one of the trails around the park, five victims were recorded (three hikers and two drivers), who died as a result of a rockslide.

One person died in a Taiwan National Cement Company quarry, while a construction worker was killed on a nearby road.

Collapsed tunnel

Credit, TAIWAN CURRENT NEWS

Photo caption,

The region’s most important tunnel, which runs through the Qingshui cliff on the coast of Hualien, collapsed after the earthquake

This Wednesday’s earthquake occurred at 7:58 am (local time), at a depth of 15.5 kilometers — and triggered at least nine aftershocks of magnitude 4 or greater.

Images arriving from Taiwan show destroyed residential buildings, landslides — and people being evacuated from homes and schools. The impact of the earthquake also destroyed vehicles and knocked over items inside stores, according to videos broadcast by local broadcaster TVBS.

Cases of power outages and internet connection drops were recorded across the island, according to monitoring group NetBlocks.

Landslide

Credit, Reuters

Photo caption,

The earthquake triggered landslides in the mountainous region of Taiwan

Interior of apartment destroyed after earthquake

Credit, Reuters

Photo caption,

An apartment in New Taipei looked like this after the tremor

Taiwanese chip manufacturing company TSMC said it had evacuated employees from its factories in Hsinchu and southern Taiwan for staff safety, but added that its security systems were operating normally.

TSMC is a major producer of semiconductors for technology companies including Apple and Nvidia.

Apple supplier Foxconn did not immediately respond to the BBC’s request for comment.

Tsunami threat

Taiwan authorities had issued a tsunami warning for the island’s coastal regions — as did neighboring Japan, where authorities announced that waves of up to 3 meters were expected on the country’s southwest coast.

Japan’s meteorological agency later downgraded the warning but asked residents to remain “vigilant for aftershocks of similar intensity” for about a week.

The Philippines’ seismological agency also issued a tsunami warning shortly after the earthquake, urging residents to head to higher ground — which was eventually cancelled.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in an update about two hours later that the threat “had passed.”

The Chinese state press stated, in turn, that tremors were felt in parts of Fujian province, in the southeast of the country.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Earthquake Taiwan rescue teams rush victims tremor killed people

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