Strong earthquake hits Taiwan’s coast

Taiwan has been hit with a 7.4 earthquake just off its shore this morning – the strongest quake to hit the island in 25 years.

The quake hit at 07.58 at a depth of 15.5km just off the eastern coast of Taiwan, according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration, knocking out power in several parts of the city. Tsunami warnings issued earlier for the islands of southern Japan and the Philippines have also been lifted.

A partially collapsed building in Hualien, Taiwan after the earthquake (Photo: TVBS/AP)

The Taipei city government has not received any reports of damage, and the city’s MRT was up and running soon after.

Taiwan’s high speed rail operator said no damage or injuries were reported on its trains, but added that trains will be delayed while it carries out inspections; while Taipei residents have been advised to check for any gas leaks.

Taipei’s Central Weather Administration’s Seismology Centre has warned that earthquakes with magnitude of 6.5 to 7 may still occur in three days.

Meanwhile, neighbouring countries Japan and the Philippines have also been affected.

Japan issued an evacuation advisory for the coastal areas of the southern prefecture of Okinawa. The Japan Meteorological Agency placed the quake magnitude at 7.5, with reports of a 30cm tsunami that reached Yonaguni island under two hours after the quake hit Taiwan’s coast.

At press time, no casualties or damage have been reported in Japan and the tsunami warnings for Japan have been downgraded to an advisory. Flights, which were temporarily suspended at Okinawa’s main airport, have now resumed.

Philippine residents across the provinces of Batanes Group of Islands, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte and Isabela have been urged to evacuate to higher ground; while in mainland China, it was reported that the quake was felt in Shanghai, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Quanzhou and Ningde in China’s Fujian province.

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