Live: 7.7 earthquake hits Taiwan, rescues from collapsed buildings underway

Live: 7.7 earthquake hits Taiwan, rescues from collapsed buildings underway
Live: 7.7 earthquake hits Taiwan, rescues from collapsed buildings underway

Deaths and injuries are growing after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan’s east coast today.

About 5.30pm, Taiwan’s government said four people died in the mountainous, sparsely populated eastern county of Hualien – the epicenter of the earthquake – with more than 50 injured.

People are reportedly trapped under buildings after Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years.

The quake that hit Taiwan was M7.2 but the Japan Meteorological Agency upgraded the quake that hit Japan magnitude to 7.7.

Military personnel have been dispatched to help with disaster relief and schools and workplaces have suspended operations as aftershocks hit Taiwan, CNN is reporting.

However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says there are 137 New Zealanders registered with it in Taiwan and 428 in Japan.

It says Kiwis in areas affected in Taiwan and Japan should follow the advice of local authorities.

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Japan has also issued an evacuation advisory for the coastal areas near the southern prefecture of Okinawa after the tsunami warning.

Waves up to 3 meters were expected to reach Japan’s southwestern coast around, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Its epicenter was in the waters off the eastern coastline of Taiwan, according to the country’s Central Weather Administration.

A tsunami measuring 0.3 meters has already reached Yonaguni island, in southwestern Japan, NHK has reported.

Japan was rocked by its deadliest earthquake in eight years on New Year’s Day when a 7.6 magnitude temblor struck in Ishikawa prefecture, on the western coast. More than 230 people died in the earthquake that left 44,000 homes fully or partially destroyed.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about one-fifth of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

On March 11, 2011, the northeast coast was struck by a magnitude 9 earthquake, the strongest earthquake in Japan on record, and a massive tsunami. Those events triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier.

The article is in Norwegian

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