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Magnitude 7.2 earthquake in eastern Taiwan leaves over a thousand injured, nine dead

A 7.2 magnitude quake hit eastern Taiwan, injuring over 1,000 & leaving 9 dead. Efforts to find 42 missing hotel workers intensify, with drones & helicopters deployed. Aftershocks expected.



TAIWAN: In a devastating turn of events, eastern Taiwan was rocked by a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake early Wednesday morning, marking the most significant seismic activity the region has seen in 25 years.

As of Thursday (4 Apr), the quake has resulted in over a thousand injuries, while the death toll remains at nine. Concerns grow as 42 hotel workers en route to a national park remain unaccounted for.

The quake struck in the early hours, catching residents off guard as they prepared for their daily routines. Hualien County, known for its rural landscapes and sparse population, was the epicenter. Despite the tremors reaching as far as Taipei, the capital suffered minimal damage and disruption.

According to the Ministry of Interior’s Fire Department, there are a staggering 1,038 injuries, with a total of 48 individuals missing, including 42 hotel staff. Efforts to locate the missing workers, believed to be heading to Taroko Gorge, have intensified, with authorities deploying drones and helicopters for the search.

In addition to the injuries and deaths, there were 2,446 reports of damage, including road and tunnel incidents and building damages. 2,070 have been addressed, with 376 ongoing. Additionally, 961 people were evacuated, and 628 were sheltered in 31 locations.

The disaster management command centre emphasized the urgency of the search operations, promising to drop supplies to those found. Rescue missions have seen some success, with six individuals trapped in a mining area airlifted to safety on Thursday.

The railway line to Hualien was swiftly reopened, ahead of schedule, to facilitate the movement and aid efforts, though damage has led to the closure of one rural station north of Hualien City. In the aftermath, many of Hualien’s residents chose to sleep outdoors, wary of the continuous aftershocks.

The Central Weather Administration (CWA) has issued a warning for potential aftershocks ranging between 6.5 and 7 magnitudes in the coming days.

Wu Chien-fu from CWA explained the quake’s intensity, attributing it to the movement of the Philippine Sea Plate and a shallow epicenter close to the land. The quake’s strength in Taipei was likely amplified by the basin effect, trapping the earthquake’s reverberations.

Comparatively, this quake is the largest since the 1999 Jiji earthquake—a 7.3-magnitude event in Nantou County—which claimed over 2,400 lives.

The response to Wednesday’s quake was marred by reports of a failed nationwide alert, an issue currently under investigation.

As Taiwan reels from the impact of this natural disaster, the focus remains on rescue operations and supporting the thousands affected by the quake’s devastation.

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Only 9 dead…all right waht/