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Strong earthquake rocks Taiwan, prompts tsunami warning for southern Japan – National



Strong earthquake rocks Taiwan, prompts tsunami warning for southern Japan - National

An earthquake off the coast Taiwan with a magnitude of 7.2 rocked Taipei, the capital, on Wednesday morning, knocking out power in several parts of the city and sparking a tsunami warning for the islands of southern Japan and the Philippines.

Taiwan television stations showed footage of some collapsed buildings in Hualien, near the quake’s epicentre, and media reported some people were trapped.

The quake could be felt as far as Shanghai, according to a Reuters witness.

The epicentre was just off the coast of eastern county of Hualien, in waters off eastern coastline of Taiwan Island, the Taiwan central weather administration said.

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Japan issued an evacuation advisory for the coastal areas of the southern prefecture of Okinawa. Tsunami waves of up to 3 metres were expected to reach large areas of Japan’s southwestern coast, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which put the quake magnitude at 7.5.

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A 0.3-metre tsunami reached Yonaguni Island at 9:18 a.m. (0018 GMT), JMA said.

The Philippines Seismology Agency also issued a warning for residents in coastal areas of several provinces, urging them to evacuate to higher ground.

There was no tsunami threat to Hawaii or North America’s west coast from the earthquake, according to officials in British Columbia and the United States.

The quake was felt in Fuzhou, Xiamen, Quanzhou and Ningde in China’s Fujian province, according to Chinese state media.

The Taipei city government has not received any reports of damage and the city’s MRT was up and running soon after. The strong quake knocked out power in several parts of Taipei, according to a Reuters witness.

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Southern Taiwan Science Park, where semiconductor giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co 2330.TW has a plant, said companies were operating without impact.

Taiwan’s official central news agency said the quake was the biggest to hit the island since 1999 when a 7.6 magnitude tremor killed around 2,400 people.

Earthquakes and tsunamis 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 quake 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.

Japan was rocked by its deadliest quake 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 quake that left 44,000 homes fully or partially destroyed. Five people remain missing, according to local officials.

—With files from the Associated Press and Global News

Click to play video: 'Japan approves $33M for earthquake recovery efforts in devastated communities'

Japan approves $33M for earthquake recovery efforts in devastated communities

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