Japan, Taiwan, Philippines issue tsunami alerts after major earthquake

Japan, Taiwan, Philippines issue tsunami alerts after major earthquake

Japan Meteorological Agency downgrades tsunami forecast after 7.7-magnitude quake.

Taiwan has been jolted by its biggest earthquake in a quarter-century, triggering tsunami warnings for the self-ruled island, Japan and the Philippines that passed without major damage or causalities.

The earthquake on Wednesday shook buildings off their foundations and led to a landslide in the eastern part of the island. Dozens of buildings in the eastern city of Hualien collapsed.

Fire authorities said one person is believed have been killed by falling rocks in a mountainous area outside Hualien and about 50 others had been injured.

In the capital Taipei, vehicles pulled over on the side of the road and the city’s subway service was briefly suspended, while tiles were thrown from older buildings and furniture was knocked over with the force of the quake.

A series of aftershocks were felt in the capital about 15 minutes later and continued over the next hour.

Taiwanese authorities said aftershocks could continue for the next three to four days due to the intensity of the earthquake.

After tsunami warnings in Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii, the United States said late on Tuesday that the threat had “passed”.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JAM) said the magnitude of the quake was 7.7, up from an earlier estimate of 7.5.

Wu Chien-fu, the director of Taipei’s Seismology Centre, said the quake was the strongest to hit the island since a 1999 quake that killed 2,400 people.

“It’s felt all over Taiwan and offshore islands,” Wu told reporters.

Taiwan’s earthquake alert system, which typically provides warnings minutes in advance, did not activate prior to the quake.

The JMA said residents in areas around Okinawa Island, Miyakojima Island and Yaeyama Island should evacuate, warning of waves of up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) high before downgrading the alert to a “tsunami advisory”.

The agency said that a wave measuring about 30cm (12 inches) high was detected on the coast of Yonaguni Island about 15 minutes after the quake.

Okinawa’s main airport suspended flights following the alert.

The Philippines’s seismology agency said coastal areas were expected to experience “high tsunami waves” before cancelling the alert later in the day.



Al Jazeera and news agencies

Read More

Zaļā Josta - Reklāma