Taiwan Endures Deadliest Earthquake in 25 Years.. Nine Fatalities Reported, 50 Missing

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
2 Min Read

Taiwan was struck by its most powerful earthquake in at least a quarter-century on Wednesday, resulting in the loss of nine lives and leaving over 800 injured, with an additional 50 individuals reported missing while traveling to a national park, authorities disclosed.

Rescue efforts, employing ladders to extract individuals to safety, unfolded against a backdrop of precarious buildings, leaning at alarming angles, in the mountainous, sparsely inhabited eastern county of Hualien, near the epicenter of the 7.2 magnitude quake, which occurred just offshore around 8 a.m. (0000GMT).

Describing the tremor’s impact, Chang Yu-lin, 60, a hospital worker in Taipei, the capital, remarked, “It was very strong. It felt as if the house was going to topple.” Meanwhile, a bed-and-breakfast operator in Hualien City recounted the chaos, endeavoring to reassure frightened guests rattled by the seismic event. “This is the biggest earthquake I have ever experienced,” she noted, requesting anonymity.

Striking at a depth of 15.5 km (9.6 miles), the earthquake coincided with the morning rush hour, triggering a tsunami alert for southern Japan and the Philippines, which subsequently rescinded. Footage captured rescuers aiding stranded individuals through windows, while substantial landslides occurred elsewhere. In Taipei, powerful tremors led to a temporary shutdown of the subway system, though most services resumed shortly thereafter.

Fire authorities reported ongoing efforts to evacuate individuals stranded in tunnels near Hualien city, including two German nationals. However, they expressed concern over the fate of 50 travelers aboard four minibusses en route to a hotel in the Taroko Gorge National Park, as contact had been lost. The government confirmed 821 injuries.

President-elect Lai Ching-te emphasized the paramount importance of rescue operations, particularly in the vicinity of collapsed structures in Hualien. He announced plans for the re-opening of the rail link to the affected area by Thursday, underscoring the urgent need for assistance amid the unfolding crisis.

Soukaina Sghir

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