Caught on camera: Strong earthquake rocks Japan, Taiwan; Tsunami, aftershocks warning issued


New Delhi: A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Taiwan shortly before 8:00 am local time on Wednesday, triggering a tsunami warning for the island and parts of southern Japan. The epicenter of the earthquake was located 18 kilometers south of Hualien city of Taiwan at a depth of 34.8 kilometers.
One death has been reported, while more than 50 people have been injured following the most powerful earthquake to hit Taiwan in 25 years, according to Taiwan's fire department.

Tsunami waves up to three meters high were expected to hit nearby remote Japanese islands, including Miyakojima Island, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

Urgent messages urging evacuation were broadcast on Japanese national broadcaster NHK. Live television coverage from ports in the Okinawa area showed ships departing to avoid possible damage.

The partial separation of the newly constructed above-ground line led to the suspension of subway operations in Taipei as well as train service in Taiwan. Damage to walls and ceilings was evident in the national legislature, a converted school built before World War II.
Traffic on the east coast has almost come to a halt as landslides and falling debris have affected tunnels and highways in the hilly areas. Although vehicles were damaged, it is uncertain whether there were any casualties.

Taiwan is frequently affected by earthquakes due to its proximity to the convergence of two tectonic plates. The island suffered a particularly devastating magnitude 7.6 earthquake in September 1999, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 2,400 people, marking it as the deadliest natural disaster in Taiwan's history.
In contrast, Japan experiences about 1,500 seismic events annually, most of which are of low intensity. However, the impact of these earthquakes depends on factors such as the depth of the epicenter and its location.
Despite their frequency, large earthquakes generally cause minimal damage in Japan and Taiwan, due to strict building regulations and special construction methods. Japan, in particular, has developed advanced protocols and technology to alert and evacuate residents when necessary.
The most destructive earthquake in Japan's history occurred in March 2011, with a magnitude of 9.0 off the northeast coast, which was followed by a devastating tsunami that killed about 18,500 people. The disaster also resulted in the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan's worst post-war disaster and the most serious nuclear incident since Chernobyl. The estimated cost of the disaster, excluding expenses associated with closing the Fukushima facility, was 16.9 trillion yen ($112 billion), with the decommissioning process expected to last decades.
(with agency input)

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