Taiwan earthquake latest news: Biggest quake in 25 years hits east ...

17 days ago

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Edited by James Harness

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I was making coffee then clinging to my bookcase - witness

Film maker, Nga Pham, was in the capital, Taipei, when the earthquake struck on the island's east coast.

Sharing her experiences, Pham explained she was making coffee when everything started to shake and rattle around her.

"It was really, really scary," she told the BBC. "I was holding onto my bookcase trying to steady myself because everything else was falling out - the bookcase's books and my glassware and plates etc and I could hear people screaming.

"They were also frantically looking for information and trying to decide what to do.

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"So it was really, really scary for about five to ten minutes. Actually for me it lasted much longer because inside my head was like - what to do, what to do?

"Luckily, when everything calmed down and I went outside and I saw that the damage was actually not as bad as expected."

Eyewitness: 'The office started to shake really, really hard'

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Image caption: Antoine Rousseaux was at work in an office tower in Taipei when the quake hit

Antoine Rousseaux, witnessed the first waves of the earthquake in the centre of Taipei this morning.

He was at work on the 9th floor of an office building when it "started to shake really, really hard."

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"It’s not my first earthquake in Taiwan but I’ve never had it done that hard, and then I heard things falling down so I didn’t know what to do, I was like, 'should I run down the stairs?'

"And then I decided to just go under the table and sit down under the table but the Taiwanese were just standing up and we could see things falling down, it was really confusing.”

“We are still in a bit of a shocked state because when it happened it was a really strong one, so even the Taiwanese were really scared... I could see they were not used to one with this strength."

He says he and his colleagues then continued to experience aftershocks every 30 minutes.

Watch: Hundreds of landslides in rugged east of Taiwan

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Our Asia correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes has sent us this report on the earthquake's impact on the capital Taipei, as well as the hundreds of massive landslides it has caused in the rugged east of the island:

Video contentVideo caption: Watch: Hundreds of landslides unleashed by 'intense' quake

Tsunami warnings lifted by Japan and Philippines

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Image caption: Kindergarten children evacuate to a park on higher ground after receiving a tsunami warning in Naha, Okinawa prefecture

In the initial aftermath of the earthquake, Japanese authorities issued a tsunami advisory for the island chain of Okinawa, as well as ordering people in southwestern Japan to move away from the coast.

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This tsunami warning was lifted shortly afterwards by the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

Officials are continuing to urge people to remain cautious as the tide level could change, but waves never reached the 3m (9.8ft) height initially expected in some areas.

The Philippines, which lies to the south of Taiwan, also declared and then subsequently lifted a tsunami alert for its northern coastline.

Filipino officials say they had cancelled the warning after there were "no significant sea level disturbances" for several hours following the huge quake.

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BreakingMore than 120 trapped, nearly 80 in tunnels

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Taiwanese authorities have now confirmed that overall 127 are known to be trapped as a result of the Earthquake.

Of these, 77 of them are trapped inside the Jinwen and Qingshui tunnels under mountains in Hualien county, fire officials say.

And as we just reported below, two German citizens are trapped in the Chongde tunnel in Taroko National Park.

The remaining 50 people are trapped in four minibuses that were travelling from central Hualien City to nearby Taroko national park.

They are all staff being transported to the Silks Place Taroko hotel, ahead of a four-day long weekend from Thursday to Sunday for two local public holidays.

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Two German citizens among trapped in tunnel

Let's bring you some news coming out of Europe where officials say two German citizens are trapped in the Chongde Tunnel, which is located in Taroko National Park.

According to the dpa German news agency, authorities initially did not provide any information about the condition of the two.

As a reminder, the national park is located north of the city of Hualien, where the earthquake has caused severe damage.

Factory collapses in New Taipei City

In New Taipei City a factory building has collapsed, according to the local mayor.

Hou Yu-ih says: "There were 57 people inside.

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"Aside from our immediate evacuation, there were three people trapped inside.

"The last one was rescued at around 11:57 (03:57BST).

"As of now, there is only one person injured. The rest of the people in the factory are unharmed."

When our rescue team moves the building becomes unstable - fire official

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Image caption: Many buildings are leaning in Hualien after the region was hit by a 7.4 earthquake

Some buildings in Hualien City are leaning dangerously.

An official from the local fire department, Su Ching-hui, says rescuers are facing extreme difficulties, according to the Reuters news agency.

He says: “Whenever our team moves, the building becomes unstable and they have to find something to hold on to ensure their safety before pulling people out."

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BreakingDeath toll rises to nine - government

The Taiwanese government has given a fresh update to say nine people are now known to have died from the earthquake.

Leaning buildings and collapsed tunnel road in Hualien

We've put together these graphics to show the impact that the earthquake had on some buildings in Hualien city.

One has entirely collapsed and dozens more have sustained major structural damage, including two leaning severely:

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We are ready to work together - Taiwan's president vows

Copyright: Reuters

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Image caption: Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (right) at a media briefing

Taiwan's President has given an update at a news briefing in New Tapei City.

"At this time when there are frequent aftershocks, the government must ensure the accuracy of information and provide timely assistance to people in need, so that people can feel at ease and safe," Tsai Ing-wen said.

"We are ready to work together."

Her comments come as the rescue efforts continue. Some buildings in Hualien City are leaning dangerously and train lines have also been ruptured.

What happened in Taipei this morning

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes

Asia correspondent in Taipei

The shaking was strong in the capital Taipei, where I am and this is more than 100km (62 miles) from the epicentre in Hualien on Taiwan's east coast.

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It must have been much, much stronger shaking there - people would have been really terrified by it. Fortunately a lot of people were out on the streets.

The timing was lucky - it was around 8am, so most people were on their way to work or taking their kids to school, or out running errands.

We have seen pictures from Hualien of people videoing their morning commute. They are stopped in traffic, watching one building as it started to topple. People were remarkably calm.

There has obviously been a lot of damage but, so far, thankfully few reports of loss of life or very serious injuries.

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BreakingThree hikers and two drivers killed by falling rocks

More from the Central Emergency Operation Centre press conference, where we've got some details on the people who have died in Hualien county.

The officials say three hikers were killed by falling rocks on the Dekalun trail, while a truck driver and another person in a private car died from falling debris at the Huide tunnel.

One person died at a quarry for Taiwan's national cement company, while a construction worker was killed on a nearby highway.

The ground floor was gone - witness

Copyright: Chiu-yueh Hsu

Chiu-yueh Hsu is an office worker at a restaurant and arrived at her desk to start her day when the earthquake hit.

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"I immediately hid under my desk, then tried to walk outside," the 50-year-old told the BBC. "But it was so shaky that I could barely walk.

"I was really scared, I felt my legs were not in my control anymore and could not walk out. Thanks to my colleagues, they dragged me so we could get out."

Hsu described a deluge of dust and as she and her colleagues tried to get away from the building they realised another building in front of them had partially collapsed.

"The ground floor was gone," she adds. "I could see people on higher floors in that building were trying to reach the windows, I don’t know if they have been rescued yet."

A tense morning in Japan as airport lifts flight suspensions

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Shaimaa Khalil

Reporting from Tokyo

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Flights were suspended at Naha airport following the initial tsunami warning but have now been lifted - but it will take some time for the airlines to resume operations with pictures showing stranded passengers.

Earlier, passengers were urged to move to higher floors of the airport terminal building, according to the Naha airport operator.

The airport is located on the coast of the main island of Okinawa.

It has been a very tense morning here in Japan. Authorities may have lifted the initial Tsunami warning, but they’re urging residents of Okinawa and other southwestern coastal areas not to let their guard down.

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Japan Meteorological Agency said residents have to remain "vigilant for aftershocks with similar intensity" warning the tide may also change.

One resident Ishigaki island told the Kyodo news agency: "I was surprised when my mobile phone's alarm rang loudly. There have been a lot of earthquakes recently, so I'm scared."

President thanks Japan for messages of support

Copyright: EPA

Image caption: President Tsai Ing-wen at a meeting about the rescue operations and emergency response earlier

Taiwan President Tsai has also posted her first message on X since the quake struck and it's a specific message of gratitude to Japan, and written in Japanese.

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"I would like to express my gratitude to Prime Minister Kishida for his words of sympathy. It has brought warmth to the hearts of those of us in Taiwan," she said.

"I myself have seen Japanese people posting messages of support for Taiwan on social media, and once again felt the friendship between Taiwan and Japan."

BreakingMore than 100 aftershocks recorded so far

We've just heard from a press conference at Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Centre, which has confirmed there have been 101 aftershocks recorded as of 15:00 local time (08:00 BST).

Taiwan thanks offers of support from allies

Taiwan's foreign office has issued a statement on X expressing thanks for the offers of aid from "allies and friends" like Japan and Paraguay.

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Earlier Taiwan's agency which engages with China - its Mainland Affairs Council - also thanked China for its concern but said there would be no request for assistance from that side. As we've reported, Beijing had been quick to offer disaster relief.

"We appreciate the worldwide good wishes and prayers issued in the wake of the 7.2 earthquake and ongoing aftershocks," Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote on X.

"Support from allies & friends in moments of adversity touches our hearts & strengthens our resolve—#Taiwan stands strong as an #IslandOfResilience."

Everything you need to know about Taiwan's powerful earthquake

Thomas Mackintosh

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Live reporter

If you are just joining our coverage of the Taiwanese earthquake, let's bring you up to date with what we know so far:

Taiwan's government says at least seven people have died and 711 have been injured after an offshore earthquake struck the eastern coast of the island At a magnitude of the 7.4 it was the most powerful to hit the island in 25 years Buildings in the capital, Taipei, and surrounding areas shook violently and it is feared dozens of people are trapped under rubble in Hualien county, near the epicentre Tsunami alerts issued for nearby Japanese islands and the northern coast of the Philippines have been downgraded Japan and China have offered assistance to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen says Taiwan's military will be deployed in rescue operations

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Japan PM offers support to Taiwan

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Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has posted on X, formerly Twitter, to offer "any assistance necessary to Taiwan - our neighbour across the sea - in times of difficulty".

Mr Kishida also said Japan was grateful for "the heartwarming support it received from their friends in Taiwan" during previous earthquakes.

Taiwan was one of the biggest contributors of financial aid after Japan was hit by the massive 9.0 quake in 2011, and it also raised millions after the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture was hit by an earthquake on 1 January.

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Taiwan and Japan are affected by earthquakes frequently, and it has become common practice for their leaders to post messages of support on social media in each other's languages.

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