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Four dead, scores injured in Taiwan deadly earthquake

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A powerful earthquake rattled Taiwan on Wednesday, leaving at least four people feared dead and nearly 60 injured. The quake, which damaged dozens of buildings, also triggered tsunami warnings that extended to Japan and the Philippines, although they were later lifted.

Director of Taipei’s Central Weather Administration’s Seismology Centre, Wu Chien-fu, described the earthquake as shallow and widely felt across Taiwan and offshore islands.

Strict building regulations and disaster awareness helped minimize the impact of the quake. However, officials warned of potential aftershocks in the coming days.

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“This earthquake is close to land and it’s shallow. It’s felt all over Taiwan and offshore islands,” Wu stated.

The magnitude-7.4 quake struck just before 8:00 a.m. local time (0000 GMT), with the epicenter located 18 kilometers (11 miles) south of Taiwan’s Hualien City, at a depth of 34.8 kilometers.

Witnesses described the tremors as intense, with buildings swaying and dramatic images emerging of multi-storey structures leaning over in Hualien and elsewhere. Landslides blocked roads to Hualien, complicating rescue efforts.

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One person on a hiking trail is suspected to have been crushed to death by a dislodged boulder, according to the Central Emergency Operations Center.

Initially, authorities in Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines issued tsunami warnings, but these were later lifted. In Taiwan, the metro briefly halted operations but resumed within an hour.

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China, viewing Taiwan as a renegade province, expressed willingness to provide disaster relief assistance.

The earthquake in Taiwan serves as a reminder of the seismic risks faced by countries in the region. Nearby Japan has experienced devastating earthquakes and tsunamis in the past, including the catastrophic 2011 quake that triggered a nuclear disaster.

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