Earthquake Rocks Taiwan Death Toll Rising

( A powerful earthquake rocked the nation of Taiwan and the southern islands of Japan in the early morning hours of April 3rd.

The quake registered around 7.4 in magnitude and covered an area of 9.6 miles. There was a tsunami warning issued soon after the quake but was thankfully called off after a few hours when none materialized.

Taiwanese authorities are reporting nine dead and several hundred injured. Photos and videos coming from the country show collapsed buildings and other infrastructure damage. The lightly populated area called Hualien was the epicenter of the quake and is reporting about 800 injured people with 50 missing. The people unaccounted for were travelling in minibuses headed to a hotel located within a national park. Authorities are reporting that about half of the 26 structurally compromised buildings in the country are located in Hualien. Fire department personnel have been working to free approximately 80 people known to be trapped within compromised buildings throughout the country.

Photos and video show buildings that lost their structural integrity and are pitched at odd angles over adjacent streets. Fire department personnel have also been trying to locate and free about a dozen people trapped within underground tunnels. The quake was reported to have been felt as far as the Taiwanese island of Kinmen, located off the coast of China. Several aftershocks were recorded, some measuring 6.5 in magnitude covering an almost eight-mile area.

The day following the quake, train services were suspended but some schools were open for students. A number of offices that were undamaged by the quake were also open and many residents commuted to work above ground almost as they normally would.

Experts are reviewing the data to determine if there’s any threat present for states on the west coast like California and Oregon, as well as Alaska and British Columbia, Canada. Hawaiian officials determined there was no threat of any kind for the island.

This is believed to be the largest earthquake to hit Taiwan since 1999.

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