7.4 Quake Topples Buildings in Taiwan

JoaoCachapa / shutterstock.com
JoaoCachapa / shutterstock.com

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit the island nation of Taiwan on Wednesday, causing buildings to topple. Just a few minutes later, a magnitude 6.5 aftershock struck just off the coast of the island and triggered a tsunami warning. It’s the biggest earthquake to hit Taiwan in the past 25 years. The 1999 quake, which was also a 7.4, killed more than 2,000 people.

The epicenter of the first quake was 11 miles south of Hualien and shook buildings in the capital city of Taipei. Schools and office buildings were closed for safety reasons Wednesday following the devastating earthquakes. Taiwan’s main nuclear power plant remained online, and officials say power distribution across the country has stabilized.

People felt the quake as far away as the coastal areas of Japan, as well as Shanghai in China.

Unlike the devastating 1999 quake, the death toll from this one was remarkably low. So far, there are only nine confirmed casualties. Four of those deaths resulted from falling rocks in a landslide at Taroko National Park. More than 900 people were injured by falling objects during the earthquake.

The death toll is expected to rise as the recovery efforts continue, but Taiwan appears to have been very fortunate so far. Perhaps the new building codes after the 1999 quake required more earthquake-proof structures.

The video clips that have emerged from the island nation so far are incredible to look at. It’s a miracle that more buildings didn’t completely collapse and that there were not more casualties.

Here’s a clip of much of the damage that took place around Hualien: