7.3-magnitude earthquake hits Taiwan; tsunami detected in China and Japan
Published: Apr 03, 2024 08:18 AM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake jolted the sea area near Hualien in China's Taiwan at 7:58 am Wednesday (Beijing Time), followed by two aftershocks of 6.0-magnitude and 5.9-magnitude at 8:11 am and 8:35 am respectively, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC). The Tsunami Warning Center of China's Ministry of Natural Resources issued a tsunami red warning following the earthquake, and Japan meteorological authority also issued a tsunami alert.

The earthquake has triggered local tsunamis around the epicenter, reported China Media Group (CMG), citing data from the Tsunami Warning Center of the Ministry of Natural Resources based on the latest monitoring and analysis. The tsunami had an impact on the eastern region of Taiwan.

The latest monitoring data showed that the Longdong Station in Taiwan detected a tsunami measuring 21 centimeters at 8:29 am, Ishigaki Island, Japan, detected a tsunami wave measuring 30 centimeters at 8:30 am, and the Chenggong Station in Taiwan, detected a tsunami wave measuring 45 centimeters at 8:41 am. The Tsunami Warning Center will continue to track and analyze earthquake and tsunami monitoring data and release information in a timely manner, CMG reported.

Following the earthquake, Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said that relevant parties in the mainland are highly concerned and express their sincere condolences to the Taiwan compatriots affected by the disaster. We will pay close attention to the disaster and subsequent situations, and are willing to provide disaster relief assistance, according to Zhu.

The epicenter was monitored at 23.81 degrees north latitude and 121.74 degrees east longitude, at a depth of 12 km, said a report issued by the CENC. A total of 256 earthquakes of magnitude-4 or above have occurred within 200 kilometers around the epicenter in the past five years, with the earthquake at 7:58 am on Wednesday being the largest, the CENC noted. 

Xinhua reporters in Taipei experienced intense tremors as buildings shook continuously for over a minute. Elevators in the reporters' apartment building were suspended from operation, according to Xinhua News Agency.

According to local media reports, strong tremors were felt in various parts of Taiwan, prompting Taipei's metro system to halt operations for 40 to 60 minutes. Students in Taipei were evacuated due to the earthquake, as reported by the China Media Group.

According to local Taiwan media reports, a landslide occurred in the Hualien area after the earthquake, causing vehicles to be hit by falling rocks. There have been no reports of casualties as of now. The Hualien county government announced the suspension of classes and work in response to the aftershocks.

Videos circulating online showed that buildings have been damaged and collapsed following the 7.3-magnitude earthquake.

Taiwan's TVBS News reported that many houses have collapsed in Hualien county. The number of casualties is currently unknown. Guishan Island, a famous scenic spot in Yilan, has also been slightly broken.

The earthquake was also  felt in East China's Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu provinces and Shanghai and South China's Guangdong Province, according to information shared by netizens on social media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo. No casualties have been reported as of press time.

According to the Japan Broadcasting Association, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for Miyako Island, Okinawa main island and other places on Wednesday, with an expected wave height of 3 meters.

This is a developing story