7.4 magnitude earthquake in Taiwan: Worst in 25 years, deaths and damage rise

The 100-thousand city of Hualien in 2022.
The 100-thousand city of Hualien in 2022.
Images source: © Canva

5:27 AM EDT, April 4, 2024

An unexpected earthquake surprised residents of Taiwan on their way to work on April 3rd, marking the strongest seismic activity this region has experienced in 25 years. Dramatic photos and videos quickly surfaced on social media.
The quake, with a magnitude of 7.4 on the Richter scale, struck the eastern coast of Taiwan on April 3rd, representing the most severe tremors in the region in over two decades. In the nine-degree scale introduced in 1935, an earthquake of seven points is equivalent to the detonation of 20 billion tons of TNT.
9-point Richter scale
9-point Richter scale© Canva

Terrifying footage of the Taiwan earthquake

The epicenter, located in Hualien County, is populated by about 300,000 of the island’s 23 million residents. Taiwan is a sovereign democracy that plays a crucial role in global business and trade. Following the quake, Taiwan felt several strong aftershocks, including in its capital, Taipei. In the upcoming days, more aftershocks of up to seven degrees are anticipated.

Social media has been abuzz with numerous videos from the scene. One particularly unsettling 11-second video captures a city tram filled with passengers during their commute. The footage shows the tram swaying violently and abruptly ends when passengers can no longer keep their footing.

The full scope of the tragedy in Taiwan is yet to be revealed

Recent updates from Taiwan indicate that nine people have lost their lives, and close to 900 have been injured. Rescue teams are working tirelessly to reach all those affected. Despite reports of damage to seven hospitals due to the aftershocks, Taipei’s hospitals are operating as usual.
According to the National Fire Agency (NFA), over 100 buildings have been partially destroyed, with photos depicting tilted and collapsed structures. In Hualien County, where two-thirds of the population live in hard-to-access coastal or mountain areas, fully grasping the magnitude and repercussions of Wednesday's earthquake may take some time.
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