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Taiwan’s Strongest Earthquake in 25 Years Kills at Least Nine, leaves over 900 injured

Taiwan’s Strongest Earthquake in 25 Years Kills at Least Nine, leaves over 900 injured

The first quake was alarming enough — a rumble more powerful than anything felt in Taiwan for a quarter-century, lasting for more than a minute on Wednesday morning, knocking belongings and even whole buildings askew.

It was so strong it set off tsunami warnings in Japan, China, and the Philippines. But then, even in a fault-riddled place with long and hard experience with earthquakes, the jolt of aftershock after aftershock was startling, continuing every few minutes throughout the day.

The earthquake struck Taiwan’s east coast, near the city of Hualien, an area familiar with seismic activity. Hualien was last struck by a deadly quake in 2018, which killed 17 people and brought down a historic hotel. However, this recent quake, the strongest in 25 years, left more than 50 people trapped in collapsed buildings and caused widespread damage.

More than 900 people were injured, stretching Taiwan’s expert quake response system. Around 15,000 households were without water, and 5,000 households were without power.

Aftershocks: By 3 p.m., there had been 101 subsequent shocks, with at least one tremor of magnitude 6.5 and many over magnitude 5. Officials warned residents to avoid visiting the tombs of ancestors during the upcoming holiday, known as Ching Ming, meant to honor them.

The forecast called for rain, which could make travel conditions on damaged roads more treacherous.

Although the earthquake will reverberate for a long time because of its size, Taiwan’s resilience is evident. The aftershocks may continue, but the island’s response serves as a model for other quake-prone regions. As the sun sets over Taiwan, decision-makers grapple with preserving history while meeting the demands of a growing nation.