Taiwan rocked by earthquake; tsunami warnings in Japan and Philippines


TAIPEI/TOKYO — A powerful earthquake struck in the ocean near Taiwan on Wednesday morning, triggering tsunami warnings for coastal areas in the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa as well as part of the Philippines.

The quake registered at 7.2 off the coast of Hualien, according to Taiwan’s central weather administration, which said it was the biggest temblor to hit the island since September 1999. It was not immediately clear how much damage the quake caused, but pictures showed severely tilted buildings and damaged train tracks. In Taiwan’s crucial tech sector, many facilities were evacuated.

Power was out in several parts of Taipei, according to Reuters, while the metro system was suspended for safety checks. On Taiwan’s stock market, the Taiex Weighted Index fell to 20,388.84 at the opening, down 77.73 points or 0.38% from the previous day’s close. The fall extended to 0.77% a minute after the bell.

The local government of Hualien announced it was suspending work and school classes for the day.

In Japan, the Meteorological Agency measured a preliminary magnitude of 7.5, later upgraded to 7.7, while officials said they were looking into the difference with Taiwan’s reading. Japanese officials initially warned of a tsunami that could reach as high as 3 meters in Okinawa. At 9:18 am, a tsunami of up to 30 cm was observed at Japan’s Yonaguni Island, near Taiwan.

Naha Airport, on Okinawa’s main island, instructed people to shelter on the third and fourth floors of the terminal, according to its website. The airport, which is near the coast, said commercial flights were suspended due to the tsunami warning.

In the Philippines, authorities also issued a tsunami warning for four provinces in the north.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Taiwan rocked earthquake tsunami warnings Japan Philippines


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