Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills nine; 50 missing

Wednesday witnessed Taiwan’s most formidable earthquake in over 25 years, claiming the lives of nine individuals, injuring over 800, and leaving 50 missing, as per authorities. The seismic event, registering a magnitude of 7.2, struck near Hualien, causing buildings to tilt precariously and triggering landslides in the mountainous terrain.

Residents in Taipei, the capital city, and Hualien recounted the terrifying moments as structures shook violently, evoking fears of collapse. The quake, occurring at 8 a.m. local time, coincided with the start of the day’s activities, prompting a tsunami warning for southern Japan and the Philippines, albeit later rescinded.

Images broadcasted on television portrayed the aftermath, showcasing the structural damage in Hualien, where rescuers utilized ladders to extract trapped individuals from buildings. One survivor, Chang Yu-lin, a hospital worker, described the intensity of the tremors, likening it to a looming disaster.

Transportation systems were momentarily paralyzed, with Taipei’s subway experiencing temporary closures due to strong tremors. Despite disruptions, authorities swiftly worked towards restoring normalcy, with the rail link to the affected area slated to reopen the following day.

While Taiwan’s air force reported minor damage to F-16 fighter jets, the economic repercussions were felt across industries. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co briefly halted operations, affecting chip supply chains, albeit normalcy resumed swiftly.

Despite the significant impact, the stock market’s response remained subdued, reflecting resilience amidst adversity. Experts highlighted the seismic event’s severity, ranking it as “Upper 6” on the intensity scale, underscoring the imperative for reinforced infrastructure and stringent safety measures.

This earthquake serves as a stark reminder of Taiwan’s vulnerability to natural disasters, prompting calls for bolstered preparedness and resilience to mitigate future risks.

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