Strong quake strikes eastern Taiwan, Japan issues tsunami alert

A train derails after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, at Dongli Station in Hualien, Taiwan. – AFP pic, September 18, 2022.

A STRONG earthquake struck Taiwan’s southeastern coast today, the US Geological Survey said, bringing at least one building down in a small town and prompting Japan to issue a tsunami warning.

The quake hit at 2.44pm about 50km north of the city of Taitung at a depth of 10km, the USGS said.

Its initial strength was given as 7.2-magnitude but USGS later downgraded it to a 6.9-magnitude quake.

At least one building collapsed in the town of Yuli according to Taiwan’s semi-official Central News Agency.

Video posted by CNA showed panicked residents running towards the building, which had caved in on itself and sent up a thick cloud of dust.

Shaking was also felt in the capital Taipei, an AFP reporter said.

A 6.6 magnitude quake hit the same region yesterday and there have been multiple tremors since with minimal damage in what is a mountainous, sparsely populated rural region, but today’s quake was much stronger.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami advisory to remote islands near Taiwan.

Waves as high as 1m were expected to arrive around 4pm, it added.

Live TV footage from the affected islands did not immediately show clear signs of high waves.

The China Earthquake Network Centre said tremors were clearly felt in coastal areas including Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Shanghai.

Taiwan is regularly hit by earthquakes as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates.

The island sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches through southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

Taiwan’s deadliest ever quake was a 7.6-magnitude jolt in September 1999 that killed more than 2,400 people. – AFP, September 18, 2022.

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