Taiwan Struck by Strongest Earthquake in 25 Years

A Magnitude 7.4 earthquake, centered just off the coast of Hualien City, struck Taiwan Wednesday morning. The earthquake was the strongest to hit the island country in nearly a quarter century (that quake, in 1999, struck Jiji and killed over 2,400 people and injured 11,300 more). In Hualien County, nine people have so far been killed, as reported by The Associated Press, with dozens more still trapped. USA Today adds that more than 900 people have been injured as a result of the initial earthquake or the series of 75-plus aftershocks—one reaching a 6.5 magnitude.

Reports from across the island said they had felt the quake, despite it striking off the central-eastern coast. There were even reports from southeast China where people felt the effects of the earthquake. A tsunami warning was initially issued for Japan and the Philippines—with the Japan Meteorological Agency detecting a tsunami of about one foot on the coast of Yonaguni—but it was soon after called off. There was no tsunami threat to Hawaii, the U.S. territory of Guam or the west coast of North America.

The Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport reports that “air and land operations are operating normally,” although “several ceilings, walls and sprinkler heads fell down in the terminal” as a result of the quake.

Additionally, Taipei 101’s website does not list any closures, so it’s presumed its observation deck remains open to visitors. The 1,671-foot-tall building is the tallest in Taiwan and was the world’s tallest from its opening in December 2004 until the Burj Khalifa surpassed it in 2009.

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