Strong Earthquake Strikes Taiwan: 9 dead, 934 injured

HUALIEN, Taiwan — In a seismic event that shook the entire island, Taiwan experienced its most powerful earthquake in 25 years. The quake, with a magnitude of 7.2 according to Taiwanese authorities and 7.4 according to the U.S. Geological Survey, struck during the morning rush hour, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

The Epicenter and Affected Area

The earthquake was centered off the coast of rural, mountainous Hualien County, where buildings leaned at severe angles and ground floors were crushed. In the capital city of Taipei, older buildings lost tiles, and schools swiftly evacuated students to sports fields, providing them with yellow safety helmets. The quake’s impact was felt across the island, with aftershocks continuing to rattle nerves.

Human Toll and Rescue Efforts

Tragically, nine people lost their lives due to the quake. Among the casualties were three hikers in Taroko National Park, located in Hualien County, who were killed by rock slides. Additionally, a van driver in the same area succumbed when boulders struck the vehicle. The quake left 934 people injured, their lives forever changed by the sudden tremors.

Miraculous Rescue of German Tourists

Amidst the chaos, a glimmer of hope emerged. Two German tourists, trapped inside one of the mountain tunnels, were successfully rescued by dedicated emergency responders. The harrowing ordeal tested their resilience, but their survival stands as a testament to the tireless efforts of those on the ground.

Infrastructure Damage and Landslides

The earthquake caused 24 landslides and inflicted damage on 35 roads, bridges, and tunnels. The island’s transportation network faced disruptions, with train services halted throughout Taiwan. The quake also impacted the mining industry, trapping six individuals in a coal mine, where rescue operations were underway.

Tsunami Threats and Preparedness

Initially, a tsunami warning was triggered, but it was later lifted. Japan’s southern island group of Okinawa also faced evacuation orders due to potential tsunami waves. Despite Taiwan’s frequent seismic activity, authorities had not anticipated such a powerful quake and thus did not issue alerts. Even seasoned residents expressed shock at the intensity of the shaking.

As the island grapples with the aftermath, rescue teams continue their tireless efforts to locate missing individuals and assess the full extent of the damage. Taiwan’s resilience shines through, but this earthquake serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictable forces that shape our world. (zai)


  1. AP News
  2. Live Science
  3. The Guardian