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Over 900 Injured in Taiwanese Earthquake as Rescue Efforts Continue

An earthquake of 7.4 magnitude hit Taiwan’s eastern coast in the strongest earthquake since 1999, killing at least 9 and injuring more than 900.

Around 127 people are trapped in places such as mountainous roads and collapsed tunnels. The earthquake’s epicenter was located around 11 miles (18 km) south of Hualien city. However, tremors were still felt in Taipei, over 60 miles (100 km) away. This is the largest earthquake that has shaken Taiwan in the past 25 years. 3 of the people who died were hikers going on a trail, and 50 of those trapped were hotel staff who were being transported to a popular hotel along the coast.

A map of Taiwan showing what areas were hit the hardest by the earthquake.

The earthquake led to tsunami alerts in nearby Japanese and Philippine islands, though they were later withdrawn. The most damage was done in Hualien city, as buildings fell, train tracks were disrupted, and roads were blocked.

Dozens have been trapped in the narrow roads and tunnels that follow the Taiwanese eastern coast. While the route is quite popular among tourists due to the view of the Pacific Ocean, it is also very prone to landslides. After the earthquake, social media posts showed many massive landslides tumbling down the mountain, putting people on the road at risk.

An image showing the damage to the road outside of Qingshui tunnel due to the earthquake.

Rescue missions to reach the 77 people who were trapped within the Jinwen and Qingshui tunnels along the coast continued into the night. The road outside the Qinqshui tunnel has fallen due to the earthquake, making any means of escaping faulty.

Taipei was also hit badly, as footage from the capital city showed buildings collapsing and people being evacuated from schools and homes. Some local TV stations also showed vehicles and small stores crushed by the falling debris.

Taiwan’s eastern side is sparsely populated and is home to indigenous tribes. This is because, for most of Taiwan’s history, the large mountains blocked anyone from going to the other side. However, since the 1930s, the Taiwanese government has been trying to connect the west with the east by building tunnels and roads going to the other side. However, it is still quite difficult to reach, which will complicate rescue operations.

A map of Taiwan’s population density coupled with its topography.

Taiwan’s foreign office thanked offers of aid from “allies and friends” such as Japan and Paraguay on X in a statement. Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, the agency that interacts with China, also thanked China for its concern about the large earthquake.

Though Taiwan has had a history of earthquakes, many say that this is the most powerful in decades. The last major earthquake was in September 1999, and at 7.6 magnitude, it killed 2,400 and destroyed 5,000 buildings.

The earthquake hit at 07:58 local time (23:58 UTC) at a magnitude of 7.4, 9.6 miles (15.5 km) below sea level, setting off at least 9 aftershocks all magnitude 4.0 or larger.

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About the Contributor
Mikael Ronaque, Head of Department (World News)/Editor in Chief
Hello. I am Mikael, Head of Department of World News. I am a 7th grader at the time of writing and I edit/publish articles on this website. I am an Indian. I aim to write about various things around the world with as little bias as possible.

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