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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Taiwan struck by deadly 7.2 magnitude earthquake

On Wednesday, Taiwan was rocked by a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake, the strongest to hit the island nation in 25 years.

On Wednesday, Taiwan was rocked by a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake, the strongest to hit the island nation in 25 years. The quake, centered just off the east coast, caused significant damage and claimed at least seven lives, leaving over 700 injured. As the nation grapples with the aftermath of this natural disaster, rescue efforts are underway, and authorities are assessing the extent of the damage.

Impact and Casualties

The earthquake struck near the mountainous, sparsely populated eastern county of Hualien, where four people lost their lives. The region experienced severe damage, with over 100 buildings sustaining significant structural damage. Tragically, 77 people remain trapped, some in collapsed buildings, awaiting rescue. The devastation is evident in footage showing buildings at precarious angles and massive landslides triggered by the tremors.

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Response Efforts

Despite the chaos, swift response efforts are underway. Rescue teams are working tirelessly to extricate those trapped under debris, using ladders to evacuate people from precarious situations. The president-elect, Lai Ching-te, has announced plans to visit Hualien, highlighting the government’s commitment to aiding affected areas. Additionally, Taiwan issued tsunami warnings, though fortunately, no significant damage was reported from these waves.

Regional Impact

The earthquake’s impact extended beyond Taiwan’s borders. Japan’s weather agency reported small tsunami waves reaching parts of Okinawa, while the Philippines Seismology Agency issued evacuation warnings for coastal areas. In China, the quake was felt in Fujian province and Shanghai. Despite this widespread impact, Taiwan’s nuclear power stations and high-speed rail infrastructure remained largely unaffected.

Economic and Industrial Response

Taiwan’s economy, including its semiconductor industry, felt the tremors. Major companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), a key supplier for tech giants like Apple and Nvidia, evacuated some facilities as a precaution. However, TSMC reassured the public that safety systems were operational and that operations were gradually resuming. The island’s benchmark share index experienced a slight dip, reflecting investor concerns amidst the disaster.

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This earthquake is reminiscent of Taiwan’s past seismic tragedies, notably the devastating 1999 quake, which claimed thousands of lives and caused widespread destruction. With memories of past disasters still fresh, Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration noted that this quake registered as the second-highest intensity on the scale.