Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing

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Workers walk at the site where a building collapsed following an earthquake, in Hualien, Taiwan April 3, 2024. REUTERS/Walid Berrazeg

By  and  Taiwan’s biggest earthquake in at least 25 years killed nine people on Wednesday and injured more than 900, while 50 workers travelling in minibuses to a hotel in a national park were missing.

Some buildings tilted at precarious angles in the mountainous, sparsely populated county of Hualien, near the epicentre of the 7.2 magnitude quake, which struck just offshore at about 8 a. m. (0000 GMT) and triggered massive landslides.

A social media video captures a massive landslide in Hualien following the 7.4 magnitude quake that rocked Taiwan on April 3, 2024.

Linda Chen, 48, said her apartment in downtown Hualien city had been so badly damaged in an earlier earthquake in 2018 that they had to move house. But her new apartment block was damaged too in the latest earthquake.

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“We worry the house could collapse anytime. We thought we had already experienced it once in Hualien and it would not hit us again, because God has to be fair,” she said.

“We are frightened. We are so nervous.”

What we know

At least nine people have died after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the east coast of Taiwan on Wednesday, the strongest in 25 years.

Rescuers are working to free dozens trapped after the quake caused landslides and collapsed structures. More than 900 others are injured and over 100 buildings have been damaged, according to authorities.

The quake was followed by strong aftershocks, including a 6.5 magnitude tremor. Multiple aftershocks as strong as magnitude 7 are expected in the coming days.

Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines have all canceled tsunami warnings issued after the quake hit.

The epicenter, Hualien County, is home to around 300,000 of the 23 million people who live in Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy with an outsized impact on global business and trade.

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