4 dead, 97 injured in 7.3-magnitude quake in China’s Taiwan

TAIPEI/BEIJING, April 3 (Xinhua) — Four people died and another 97 were injured in a 7.3-magnitude earthquake that hit the sea area near Hualien in China’s Taiwan on Wednesday morning.

One driver was fatally struck by falling rocks, while the other three lost their lives on a trail inside a major tourist attraction in Hualien County, according to local media, citing fire department data.

Taiwan’s meteorological agency recorded the quake as measuring 7.2 magnitude, calling it the strongest earthquake to hit the island in 25 years since a deadly quake struck on Sept. 21, 1999.

A spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said that the mainland is highly concerned about the situation and extends sincere sympathy to the Taiwan compatriots affected by the disaster.

The mainland is ready to provide disaster relief assistance, said spokesperson Zhu Fenglian.

The quake struck at 7:58 a.m. Wednesday (Beijing Time) and the epicenter was monitored at 23.81 degrees north latitude and 121.74 degrees east longitude, at a depth of 12 km, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

Following the earthquake, the Ministry of Natural Resources warning center issued tsunami alerts, which have been lifted as of press time.

The quake triggered a local tsunami near the epicenter, causing a disastrous impact on parts of Taiwan’s coastal areas, the warning center said, adding that the tsunami disaster process had basically ended.

According to Taiwan’s meteorological agency, the earthquake was monitored at a depth of 15.5 km. The epicenter was located 25 km south-southeast of Hualien. The maximum intensity recorded was 6 magnitude in Hualien County.

Local authorities have announced the suspension of work and school classes in Hualien.

Strong tremors were felt across Taiwan. Xinhua reporters in Taipei experienced intense tremors as buildings shook continuously for over a minute. Elevators in the reporters’ apartment building were suspended from operation.

Multiple residential buildings partially collapsed in Hualien, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents. Falling rocks were also reported in hilly areas.

A rubber factory building in New Taipei City collapsed due to the quake.

Subways in multiple counties and cities on the island have been temporarily suspended. Taipei’s metro system resumed operation after being suspended for around one hour.

Multiple aftershocks measuring above 5.0 magnitude hit Hualien and nearby areas.

Taiwan’s meteorological agency also predicted earthquakes measuring magnitude 7 might happen in the next three days.

Across the Taiwan Strait, tremors were also felt in Fujian, Guangdong, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu on the Chinese mainland.

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