Magnitude 7.2 tremor strikes; Japan tsunami alert issued

Japan’s weather agency put the first earthquake’s magnitude at 7.7. It said several small tsunami waves had reached parts of the southern prefecture of Okinawa but it later downgraded the earlier tsunami warning to an advisory.

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

Taiwan also issued a tsunami warning, but reported no damage from that, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii later said the risk of damaging tsunami waves had largely passed.

Aftershocks could still be felt in Taipei, according to a witness, with more than 25 aftershocks registered in the hours after the quake, according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration.

Chinese state media said the quake was felt in China’s Fujian province, while a witness said it was also felt in Shanghai.

The Taipei city government said it had not received any reports of major damage and the city’s MRT was up and running soon after the tremor, while electricity operator Taipower said more than 87,000 households in Taiwan were still without power. Taiwan’s two nuclear power stations were not affected, Taipower added.

Its high-speed rail operator said no damage or injuries were reported on its trains, but noted trains will be delayed while it carries out inspections.

Semiconductor giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co said it had evacuated some plants and its safety systems were operating normally.


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 2400 people and destroyed or damaged 50,000 buildings in one of Taiwan’s worst-recorded quakes.

Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration said the earthquake registered the second-highest intensity of an “Upper 6” in Hualien county, on the 1-7 intensity scale.

In an Upper 6 earthquake, most unenforced concrete-block walls collapse and people find it impossible to remain standing or move without crawling, the Japan Meteorological Agency says.

Reuters, AP

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