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A powerful earthquake, the strongest in 25 years, struck Taiwan, resulting in at least four deaths and numerous injuries

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan on Wednesday, marking the strongest tremor to hit the island in at least 25 years. Mainland China, Japan, and the Philippines issued tsunami warnings in response.

According to Taiwan’s government, four people have died in the mountainous, sparsely populated eastern county of Hualien, near the epicenter, with 711 individuals reported injured.

The fire department reported that 77 individuals remained trapped, some in collapsed buildings in Hualien.

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake caused the collapse of at least 26 buildings and left others tilting, particularly in the vicinity of the epicenter in the eastern county of Hualien.

The earthquake marked the most powerful to hit Taiwan since 1999, when a 7.6 magnitude quake resulted in 2,400 fatalities and left 50,000 buildings damaged.

Additionally, a small tsunami struck southern Japanese islands in the wake of the earthquake.

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi stated that there have been no reports of injury or damage in the country. He urged residents in the Okinawa region to remain on high ground until all tsunami advisories are lifted.

Following Wednesday’s earthquake, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest producer of advanced microchips, partially suspended its operations. Three other semiconductor factories also temporarily halted parts of their operations.

TSMC stated, “To ensure the safety of personnel, some fabs were evacuated according to company procedure. We are currently confirming the details of the impact.”

The self-governing island off the southern coast of China is at the center of geopolitical tension between Washington and Beijing. Beijing seeks for Taiwan to reunify with the mainland.

After the earthquake, Taipei resident Hsien-hsuen Keng remarked, “Earthquakes are a common occurrence, and I’ve grown accustomed to them. But today was the first time I was scared to tears by an earthquake. I was awakened by the earthquake. I had never felt such intense shaking before.”

She described how her fifth-floor apartment shook so violently that, “Apart from earthquake drills in elementary school, this was the first time I had experienced such a situation.”

Wu Chien-fu, the head of Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring bureau, mentioned that effects were detected as far away as Kinmen, a Taiwanese-controlled island off the coast of China.

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