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Strong earthquake in 25 years rocks Taiwan, spurring tsunami warnings across Asia: Latest developments – Times of India

In a sequence of natural calamities that struck early Wednesday, a powerful earthquake originating near Taiwan prompted widespread alarm across parts of Asia, including southern Japan. The following sections detail the immediate aftermath and responses to these seismic events.
Here are latest developments:
Flight disruptions in Okinawa
The main airport in Okinawa, Naha Airport, saw a suspension of flights from 9:25 am local time as a tsunami alert was activated following the earthquake.A government official cited the precautionary measures, necessitating incoming flights to divert, illustrating the region’s swift response to the impending tsunami threat.
Continued operations in Ishigaki
Contrastingly, Ishigaki Island’s airport remained operational, with an official reporting no abnormalities post-inspection. This indicates the varying impact levels of the earthquake and tsunami alert across different areas, with Ishigaki experiencing only brief, moderate shaking.
Magnitude discrepancies
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported the earthquake’s magnitude as 7.4, a figure slightly adjusted by different agencies. The Japan Meteorological Agency, for example, revised its initial estimate from 7.5 to 7.7, showcasing the challenges in early magnitude determination.
Strongest in 25 years
The earthquake that hit Taiwan’s east on Wednesday morning was “the strongest in 25 years”, said the director of Taipei’s Seismology Centre.
“The earthquake is close to land and it’s shallow. It’s felt all over Taiwan and offshore islands… it’s the strongest in 25 years since the (1999) earthquake,” Wu Chien-fu told reporters, referring to a September 1999 quake with 7.6-magnitude that killed 2,400 people.
Evacuation and safety measures
In response to the tsunami warnings, live footage showed vessels departing from ports, including Naha, as part of efforts to mitigate potential damage. This move underscores the gravity of tsunami warnings and the region’s preparedness to respond to such natural threats.
Regional tsunami warnings
The earthquake triggered tsunami warnings not just in Japan but also in Taiwan and the Philippines, with advisories for waves reaching up to 1 meter above tide levels in some coasts of Japan. This broad warning spectrum reflects the far-reaching implications of significant seismic events in the Pacific region.
Train services disrupted
In Taiwan, the earthquake was felt strongly from north to south, leading to a series of precautionary actions, including text message alerts to residents in coastal areas. The subsequent aftershocks, including a notable 6.5 magnitude quake, emphasized the persistent threat and the need for vigilance.
Train service was suspended across the island of 23 million people, as was subway service in Taipei, where a newly constructed above-ground line partially separated. The national legislature, a converted school built before World War II, also had damage to walls and ceilings.
Impact on infrastructure
The earthquake caused substantial infrastructure damage, particularly in Taiwan, where buildings in Hualien were compromised. The response included evacuations and safety measures such as the temporary suspension of train and subway services, highlighting the immediate impact on daily life and the importance of emergency preparedness.
Ongoing threat
Officials noted this earthquake as one of the strongest felt on the island in decades, reminding residents and authorities alike of the ever-present risk of seismic activity in the region. Both Taiwan and Japan are situated in highly active tectonic zones, necessitating constant preparedness and swift response mechanisms to mitigate the impacts of such natural disasters.
As rescue and evaluation efforts continue, the focus remains on assessing the full extent of the damage, ensuring the safety of residents, and preparing for potential aftershocks or additional tsunami waves. The events serve as a sober reminder of the seismic volatility of the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and the importance of robust disaster preparedness and response strategies.
(With inputs from agencies)

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