Powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes near Taiwan, triggers tsunami warnings in Japan

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In a significant seismic event that has drawn global attention, a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 struck near Taiwan, prompting tsunami warnings for southern Japanese islands, including Miyakojima Island. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued alerts early on Wednesday, forecasting tsunami waves as high as three metres (10 feet). The epicenter of the quake was identified near the coast of Hualien, on Taiwan Island’s eastern coastline, according to the Taiwan Central Weather Administration.

The earthquake’s force was felt widely, with power outages reported across various parts of the city and structural damage leading to collapsed buildings in areas close to the epicenter, as broadcasted on Taiwanese television stations. Media reports indicate that there are individuals trapped under debris, highlighting the urgent need for rescue and relief operations. Remarkably, the quake’s tremors were felt as far away as Shanghai, underscoring its significant strength and wide-reaching impact.

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In response to the tsunami threat, Japanese authorities issued an evacuation advisory for coastal areas of the southern prefecture of Okinawa. Japan’s national broadcaster, NHK, took an active role in urging residents to evacuate immediately, emphasizing the gravity of the situation with warnings such as “Tsunami is coming. Please evacuate immediately,” and advising against returning or stopping during the evacuation process.

Similarly, the Philippines Seismology Agency issued a warning to residents in coastal areas of various provinces, urging them to seek safety on higher ground. This coordinated response by national and local agencies highlights the proactive measures taken to mitigate the risks associated with the tsunami threat.

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The earthquake’s tremors were also felt in Fuzhou, Xiamen, Quanzhou, and Ningde in China’s Fujian province, as reported by Chinese state media. Despite the challenges posed by the quake, Taipei’s city government and the MRT system reported no significant damage, with services resuming shortly after. Social media visuals depicted the immediate aftermath, including shaking bridges and some structural damage. Notably, the Southern Taiwan Science Park, home to semiconductor giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, reported no impact on operations, indicating the resilience of local infrastructure and emergency preparedness.

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Taiwan’s official central news agency noted that this was the largest earthquake to hit the island since 1999, a reminder of the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters and the importance of ongoing vigilance and preparedness.

This earthquake serves as a stark reminder of the power of natural forces and the importance of preparedness, resilience, and community support in the face of disaster. The immediate response by authorities and communities, coupled with the widespread support for those affected, underscores the collective effort to navigate the aftermath and rebuild stronger. As rescue and relief operations continue, the focus on safety, infrastructure resilience, and community support remains paramount.

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