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Taiwan earthquake live updates: evacuations and tsunami warning in Japan; buildings collapsed in Taiwan


Welcome and opening summary

A powerful earthquake has hit off the coast of Taiwan, rocking the entire island and collapsing buildings in at least one town. I’m Reged Ahmad and I’ll be with you for the next while.

Japan issued a tsunami alert for the southern Japanese island group of Okinawa, according to Associated Press.

More on that in a moment but first – here’s a summary of what we know so far:

  • Japan’s meteorological agency forecast a tsunami of up to 3 meters, or 9.8 feet for some areas.

  • The Japan Meteorological Agency reported that a 30cm tsunami reached Yonaguni Island at 9:18 am (0018 GMT), Reuters reports.

  • Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency gave the magnitude as 7.2 while the US Geological Survey put it at 7.5.

  • Television have shown buildings in the eastern city of Hualien shaken off their foundations.

  • The quake came at 7:58am local time and could be felt in the capital Taipei.

Key events

More images from Hualien are coming in:

In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a woman stands near a partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan Photograph: Anonymous/AP

Epicentre reported as 25km southeast of Hualien

According to Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration, the epicentre of the quake was 25km southeast of Hualien:

Map showing Hualien in Taiwan
Map showing Hualien in Taiwan.

Reports computer chip factory partially evacuated

Bloomberg is reporting that the world’s largest producer of advanced chips has evacuated some factory areas.

The financial publisher said the move could endanger production at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

Reports of damage to houses and water towers – Taiwan

Our Guardian reporter Chi Hui Lin has sent this from Miaoli, one hour’s drive from Taipei:

Wednesday morning’s earthquake was the strongest since the 921 quake in 1999. Aftershocks continued to occur between 8 and 9 a.m.

Social media was full of earthquake posts, with friends sharing information about their homes.

Tiles peeled off the exteriors of old houses in Taipei City, water towers cracked, glass shattered and items fell.

Teachers on campus took their students to an open area for shelter.

At 8 am the phone rang with a tsunami alert: the earthquake-induced tsunami was expected to affect the coastal areas at 9:59am.

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Internet outages reported in Taiwan

Global internet monitor Netblocks has said that internet outages are being registered in parts of Taiwan after the quake.

In a post on X the group said:

The decline in network connectivity comes amid reports of power outages with a tsunami warning issued; nuclear regulator observes no issues with reactors at present

⚠ Confirmed: Internet outages have been registered in parts of #Taiwan after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake; the decline in network connectivity comes amid reports of power outages with a tsunami warning issued; nuclear regulator observes no issues with reactors at present 📉 pic.twitter.com/7hERFHXU87

— NetBlocks (@netblocks) April 3, 2024

Taiwan reports people trapped in buildings – local media

People are trapped in collapsed buildings in Taiwan’s city of Hualien according to local media and the local government has suspended schools and classes in the region.

According to Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration, the epicentre of the quake was 25km southeast of Hualien.

Taipei’s metro was suspended for 40 to 60 minutes for routine safety checks, although there were no initial reports of irregularities and services had resumed by 8:45am.

Philippines warns of high tsunami waves

Rebecca Ratcliffe

Rebecca Ratcliffe

The Philippines’ seismology agency has a tsunami warning, warning people in coastal areas of several provinces to immediately evacuate to higher ground or move farther inland. It has issued the following evaluation:

Based on tsunami wave models and early tide gauge records of the tsunami in the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, coastal areas in the Philippines fronting the Pacific Ocean are expected to experience high tsunami waves.

It is forecasted that the first tsunami waves will arrive between 08:33 AM to 10:33 AM, 03 Apr 2024 (PST). It may not be the largest and these waves may continue for hours.

Japan’s national broadcaster issues evacuation warning

Japan’s national broadcaster has issued an evacuation order – broadcasting warnings such as “Tsunami is coming. Please evacuate immediately,” an anchor on NHK said. “Do not stop. Do not go back”.

“Evacuate!” said a banner on the broadcast channel.

Tsunami waves as high as three metres were expected immediately for remote Japanese islands in the region, including Miyakojima island, Japan’s Meteorological Agency.

Live TV footage from the Okinawa region’s ports, including Naha, showed vessels heading out to sea, possibly in efforts to protect their ships.

Here is our latest map showing the general location of the earthquake:

A map showing the magnitude 7.5 earthquake in Taiwan
A map showing the magnitude 7.5 earthquake in Taiwan.

First images out of Taiwan emerge

Here is an early image out of Taiwain from the aftermath of the earthquake:

In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien, eastern Taiwan. Photograph: AP

Some background on the history of earthquakes in Taiwan

The country is regularly hit by earthquakes because the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates.

A 7.6-magnitude quake hit Taiwan in September 1999, killing about 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s history.

Earthquake are also common in Japan, where about 1,500 jolts are felt every year.

The vast majority are mild, although the damage they cause varies according to the depth of the epicentre below the Earth’s surface and its location.

The severity of tsunamis – vast and potentially destructive series of waves that can move at hundreds of kilometres per hour – also depends upon multiple factors.

Even larger quakes usually cause little damage in Japan and Taiwan thanks to special construction techniques and strict building regulations.

Japan has also developed sophisticated procedures and technology to alert and evacuate people when needed.

Japan’s biggest earthquake on record was 9.0-magnitude in March 2011 off Japan’s northeast coast, which triggered a tsunami that left about 18,500 people dead or missing.

The 2011 catastrophe also sent three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing Japan’s worst postwar disaster and the most serious nuclear accident since Chornobyl.

Earthquake felt in China – reports

A witness has told the Reuters news agency that the earthquake was also felt in Shanghai, China.

Chinese state media is reporting that it was felt in Fuzhou, Xiamen, Quanzhou, Ningde in China’s Fujian province.

Taiwan reports collapsed buildings

Television images are showing buildings in the city of Hualien shaken off their foundations after the earthquake.

Elsewhere, the Islandwide train service has been suspended, as was subway service in Taipei.

Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency gave the magnitude as 7.2 while the U.S. Geological Survey put it at 7.5. The depth was about 33km.

Philippines issues tsunami warning

The Philippines seismology agency has issued a tsunami warning as well after that strong Taiwan quake, with Philippine coastal areas fronting the Pacific Ocean expected to experience “high tsunami waves”, according to the Reuters news agency.

People in the coastal areas in several provinces were advised to immediately evacuate to higher grounds or move farther inland, the advisory read.

Japan issues tsunami advisory

Justin McCurry

Justin McCurry

A tsunami advisory has been issued in southern Japan after a powerful earthquake struck near Taiwan on Wednesday morning, according to Japan’s meteorological agency (JMA).

Television showed collapsing buildings in the eastern Taiwan city of Hualien.

Japanese media said the magnitude 7.5 quake could trigger waves as high as 3 metres in some areas of Okinawa prefecture, located roughly 1,000 miles south of Tokyo.

A 30 cm tsunami has reached Yonaguni Island at 9:18 am (0018 GMT), the JMA said.

Announcers on public broadcaster NHK urged people not to go near the coast and to evacuate to higher areas, while warnings in English and Japanese appeared on the screen.

Read our breaking story here:

Welcome and opening summary

A powerful earthquake has hit off the coast of Taiwan, rocking the entire island and collapsing buildings in at least one town. I’m Reged Ahmad and I’ll be with you for the next while.

Japan issued a tsunami alert for the southern Japanese island group of Okinawa, according to Associated Press.

More on that in a moment but first – here’s a summary of what we know so far:

  • Japan’s meteorological agency forecast a tsunami of up to 3 meters, or 9.8 feet for some areas.

  • The Japan Meteorological Agency reported that a 30cm tsunami reached Yonaguni Island at 9:18 am (0018 GMT), Reuters reports.

  • Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency gave the magnitude as 7.2 while the US Geological Survey put it at 7.5.

  • Television have shown buildings in the eastern city of Hualien shaken off their foundations.

  • The quake came at 7:58am local time and could be felt in the capital Taipei.





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