Taiwan: strongest earthquake in 25 years

Taiwan grappling with the aftermath of the quake: casualties, missing persons, and destruction after the devastating earthquake

A morning marked by terror

On April 3, 2024, Taiwan faced the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in a quarter of a century, unleashing an immediate crisis on the island and in the surrounding areas. The quake measured between 7.2 and 7.4 magnitude and had its epicenter off the eastern coast, near the mountainous and sparsely populated region of Hualien County. At least nine fatalities, over 1,000 injuries, and dozens of missing persons, including fifty employees of a hotel traveling to a national park.

The provisional toll

The violent tremors triggered massive landslides, destroyed buildings, and crucial infrastructure such as roads and bridges, isolating communities and hindering relief efforts. In Hualien, near the epicenter, structures leaned precariously, some floors collapsed due to the earthquake’s force. Currently, nine fatalities are confirmed, though an increase is feared. 1,011 injuries have been reported, and rescue efforts are underway. Among the earthquake-related incidents is one involving about 80 individuals trapped in a mining area and 70 workers rescued from tunnels near Hualien.

The island’s geological reality

Taiwan’s location between the Philippine and Eurasian tectonic plates predisposes it to strong seismic activity and frequent high-intensity tremors. Carlo Doglioni, president of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, notes that the Philippine plate moves towards the Eurasian plate by over 7 centimeters annually, generating powerful earthquakes like this recent event.

Rescue efforts

Immediate rescue efforts have been launched, utilizing national resources and receiving global aid. In addition to actively searching for the missing, main priorities have included restoring essential services like electricity and potable water and assessing damages for swift normalization. Taiwanese resilience has immediately emerged, and their earthquake preparedness has been crucial in managing the initial phases of the emergency.


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