Taiwan: Dead and Injured in Strong Coastal Earthquake – Officials Tsunami Warning

Disasters Taiwan

Dead and wounded – trapped Germans were freed after the earthquake

77 people, including two Germans, were trapped in the tunnel

At least nine people have been killed and more than 700 injured in an earthquake in Taiwan. Dozens of people are trapped in tunnels north of Hualien.

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Rescue operations continue in full swing in Taiwan. The number of people in need of help is constantly increasing – and victims are being identified. Two Germans have now been rescued from the tunnel.

DTwo Germans trapped in a tunnel in Taiwan after the earthquake were freed. The Taiwan Fire Department made the announcement on Wednesday evening (local time). At least 9 people have died in Taiwan's most powerful earthquake in 25 years. At least 820 people were injured, the National Fire Service announced Wednesday. Among the dead were a truck driver who reportedly hit a rock while driving, and three hikers. In total, the commission reported more than 900 accidents of various types as of noon (local time).

In addition to the Germans, 127 people were thought to be trapped in the area around Hualien – many of them also in the tunnels. At first it was said that 75 people were trapped.

The morning earthquake struck a few kilometers (local time) off Taiwan's east coast. The Meteorological Center said the 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck at a depth of 15.5 kilometers off the island's southeast coast near the city of Hualien. A magnitude of 7.4 was recorded in the region, according to the United States Earthquake Survey (USGS). In Japan, according to media reports, officials were even talking about a magnitude of 7.7.

Bridges, railways, highways, public buildings and residential buildings: Critical infrastructure was affected by the earthquake. The earthquake was felt across the country. The east coast city of Hualien was particularly hard hit, where some buildings were severely damaged by the violent tremors. Photos show how many houses have collapsed.

Effects of the earthquake in Hualien, Taiwan

Source: dpa/-

According to eyewitnesses, the earthquake was clearly felt in and around the capital city of Taipei. In New Taipei, a suburb of the capital, three people were injured when a warehouse collapsed. Residents of the capital reported that furniture and utensils were broken in their houses and apartments. Public rail services have been suspended in many major cities on the island of more than 23 million people. Express train services were also disrupted.

Taiwan, China, Japan and the Philippines had issued tsunami warnings several hours earlier. In Japan, northeast of Taiwan, the earthquake triggered a three-meter tsunami warning for nearby islands in southwestern Japan's Okinawa prefecture. Residents of affected islands were called to safety.

Officials have also issued a tsunami warning for the Philippines. The National Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said high tsunami waves were expected to last for hours. People in several provinces of the island nation were asked to seek safety and evacuate coastal areas.

China and the European Union are providing aid

In neighboring China, which Taiwan considers a breakaway province, the quake was a major headline on state television news. Chinese officials are very concerned about the situation, Chinese Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Zhu Fenglian said in Beijing on Wednesday. Terrain is monitoring the situation and ready to provide disaster relief. It is unclear whether Taiwan will accept China's help. Although an independent and democratically elected government has been in power in Taiwan for decades, there have always been tensions between the two states over Beijing's territorial claims.

EU Council President Charles Michel has also offered the EU's support. “My deepest condolences go out to all those affected by the Taiwan earthquake,” he said on Stage X on Wednesday. “My condolences to the families of the victims.” The European Union stands ready to provide any assistance needed.

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The earthquake also affected the economy: Taiwan's important semiconductor manufacturer TSMC, for example, halted production, as the industrial park authority in the city of Hsinchu announced. The company reportedly evacuated workers who were in production during the quake. Other companies have also temporarily stopped work. The earthquake left more than 308,000 households without power in Taiwan, according to the state-owned energy distribution company. Tens of thousands were temporarily without power.

Taiwan was last hit by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake in September 1999. At that time, more than 2,400 people died. Taiwan is located on the boundary of the Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate in an earthquake-prone region.

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