World

Thousands without power and ‘people trapped in buildings’ in Taiwan after strong earthquake

A strong earthquake has struck off the coast of southwestern Japan – with power outages and people trapped in buildings in parts of Taiwan.

Tsunami warnings were issued after the quake – which had an estimated magnitude of 7.7 – with residents in coastal areas of Okinawa urged to evacuate after it struck at 7.58am local time.

It was the strongest quake to hit Taiwan in 25 years, state media said.

Pic: TVBS
Image:
Pic: TVBS

The first wave of a tsunami is believed to have already struck two of Japan‘s southern islands – with waves of up to three metres expected to reach larger areas of the southwestern coast.

Japan’s meteorological agency described the quake as very shallow, which can cause greater damage.

A five-story building in the city of Hualien – near the quake’s epicentre in Taiwan – appeared to be heavily damaged. The first floor of the building had collapsed leaving the rest leaning at a 45-degree angle.

In the capital Taipei, tiles fell from the roof of older buildings and within some newer office complexes.

Train services across the island – which is home to 23 million people – were suspended, as was the metro.

The city government said it has not received any reports of damage and the MRT was back up and running soon after.

Pic: TVBS
Image:
Pic: TVBS

The Philippines Seismology Agency also issued urged residents in coastal areas of several provinces to evacuate to higher ground.

According to a witness, the quake could be felt as far as Shanghai in China.

Multiple aftershocks were felt in Taipei in the hour after the initial quake. The US Geological Society said one of the subsequent quakes was seven miles deep and had a magnitude of 6.5.

Taiwan lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a line of seismic faults where most of the world’s earthquakes occur.

In March 2011, a 9 magnitude earthquake in March 2011 was the strongest in Japan’s history – triggering a massive tsunami and the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

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