Earthquake Hits Taiwan, Disaster Unfolds!

An earthquake jolted the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, triggering the collapse of buildings in a southern city and prompting a brief tsunami warning for southern Japanese islands.

Videos and images circulating on social media depicted buildings shaken off their foundations. In Hualien, a lightly populated area, a five-story building sustained heavy damage, with its first floor collapsing and the remainder tilting at a 45-degree angle.

In the capital city of Taipei, tiles were dislodged from older structures and some newer office complexes.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake registered at a magnitude of 7.5, while Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency initially reported it as 7.7 before revising it to 7.5. The tremors were felt as far away as Kinmen, a Taiwanese-controlled island off the coast of China, stated Wu Chien-fu, the head of Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring bureau.

A tsunami warning was issued for coastal areas of southwestern Japan’s Miyakojima and Yaeyama regions, as well as the main island of Okinawa, with waves exceeding 9 feet reported in some areas, as per Japanese public broadcaster NHK World.

No official casualty figures have been released yet. Train services across the island, home to 23 million people, were halted. However, in Taipei, children were seen attending school, and the morning commute appeared to proceed as usual.

Initially, the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center was assessing the earthquake to determine if there was a tsunami threat to the West Coast states of California, Oregon, Washington, as well as Alaska and the Canadian province of British Columbia.

The agency later confirmed, “Tsunami NOT expected.”

Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency likewise stated that there was no tsunami threat to the state.

This quake is believed to be the most significant in Taiwan since a temblor in 1999 caused widespread damage. Taiwan is situated along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a zone of seismic activity encircling the Pacific Ocean where the majority of the world’s earthquakes occur.