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Tsunami Alert After Taiwan Hit By Worst Earthquake in 25 Years

A powerful earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale rattled Taiwan on Wednesday, marking the strongest tremor to hit the island in over 25 years. The quake triggered a tsunami alert for the southern Japanese islands and the Philippines. However, authorities in those regions later confirmed the cancellation of the warning on Wednesday.

Television broadcasts displayed images of buildings with partial collapses in Hualien, a county in eastern Taiwan near the epicenter of the quake. Taipower, the electricity operator, reported over 87,000 households without power across Taiwan.

Emergency services have confirmed at least seven fatalities and over 700 injuries as they conduct rescue operations and evaluate the extent of the damage. Taiwan’s government has disclosed that 77 individuals remain trapped under collapsed structures and debris.

The earthquake struck at 7:58 am at a depth of 15.5 kilometers, just off Taiwan’s eastern coastline, according to the Central Weather Administration of the island. Reports from China indicated that the tremor was felt in Shanghai, approximately 900 kilometers away.

Taipei’s government stated that no major damages were reported in the capital city. Japan’s meteorological agency downgraded the earlier tsunami alert to an advisory and revised the quake’s magnitude to 7.7.

Initial assessments indicate a significant potential economic impact, particularly on Taiwan’s semiconductor manufacturing industry. Taiwan supplies around half of the world’s “legacy” microchips utilized in medical equipment, automotive electronics, and weaponry.

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s most advanced microchips, essential for devices ranging from smartphones to supercomputers, are manufactured in Taiwan. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company confirmed the evacuation of some fabrication plants while asserting that safety systems were functioning normally.

Formosa Petrochemical also opted to halt operations at the Mailiao refinery as a precautionary measure, the company announced.

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