World News

7.5-magnitude earthquake hits near Taiwan, Japan tsunami warnings


A 7.5-magnitude earthquake has hit near Taiwan, prompting a tsunami warning for waves as high as three metres in nearby Japan and The Philippines.

Taiwan’s central weather administration initially registered the earthquake magnitude as 7.2 at 9:00 am local time (10am AEDT).

As of 12.30pm AEDT, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, and China were all officially listed as being impacted by the disaster.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4, with its epicentre 18 kilometres south of Taiwan’s Hualien City at a depth of 34.8 kilometres.

A second quake was recorded 11 northeast of Hualien at a depth of less than 11 kilometres.

As a result, parts of the city reportedly lost power, while early footage and images from the Asian territory show varying degrees of destruction.

Some show half-fallen large buildings in Hualien, near the epicentre, with severe damage, while another shows a bridge violently shaking.

Some footage to emerge shows numerous, large landslides.

Early reports from local media suggest people may be trapped in debris.

Authorities in Taiwan have warned: “The earthquake may trigger a tsunami that will affect Taiwan. A tsunami warning is issued to remind people in coastal areas to be vigilant.”

AFP reported also noted “major aftershocks hitting the island”.

Buildings collapse after earthquake strikes Taipei, Taiwan

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Tsunami warnings for southern Japanese islands have been triggered.

“Evacuate!” a banner on Japan’s national broadcaster NHK read on Wednesday morning.

“Tsunami is coming. Please evacuate immediately,” an NHK anchor also said, according to AFP.

“Do not stop. Do not go back.”

Tsunami waves as high as three metres (10 feet) were expected immediately for remote Japanese islands near Taiwan, including Miyakojima island.

Flights were also suspended at the main airport in Japan’s southern region of Okinawa.

Operations at Naha Airport were suspended from 9:25am local time, shortly after the quake, as a precautionary measure.

A transport ministry official stationed at the airport told AFP: “Incoming flights need to divert”.

The Philippines Seismology Agency also warned its residents in some coastal areasto evacuate to higher ground, while the quake was felt as far away as China’s Fujian province, according state media.

People in areas of the Philippines have been warned of “high tsunami waves” and and have been urged to evacuate coastal areas following the quake in neighbouring Taiwan.

“The people in the coastal areas of the following provinces are strongly advised to immediately evacuate to higher grounds or move farther inland,” the state seismology institute said in an advisory.

Coastal areas in 23 provinces from the north to the south of the archipelago nation, but not the capital Manila, “are expected to experience high tsunami waves” based on tsunami wave models, it added.

The first tsunami waves were expected to hit this afternoon, which “may not be the largest and these waves may continue for hours”.

“Owners of boats in harbours, estuaries or shallow coastal water of the above-mentioned provinces should secure their boats and move away from the waterfront,” it said.

“Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised.”

More to come …


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