Powerful earthquake hits southeast Taiwan, tsunami warning issued
TAIPEI — A 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the sparsely populated southeastern part of Taiwan on Sunday, the island’s weather bureau said, causing damage including derailed train carriages, and sparking tsunami warnings.
The weather bureau said the epicenter was in Taitung county, and followed a 6.4 magnitude temblor on Saturday evening in the same area, which caused no casualties.
The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at a magnitude 7.2 and at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles).
Taiwan media said a low-rise building housing a convenience store collapsed and rescue work had begun to free those inside.
The Taiwan Railways Administration said three carriages came off the rails at Dongli station in eastern Taiwan after part of the platform canopy collapsed, and the roughly 20 passengers aboard had been evacuated.
The U.S. Tsunami Warning Centre issued a warning in Taiwan after the tremor. It said hazardous tsunami waves were possible within 300 km (190 miles) of the epicenter along the coasts of Taiwan.
Japan’s weather agency issued a warning for tsunami waves of 1 meter for part of Okinawa prefecture following the earthquake.
The quake could be felt across Taiwan, the weather bureau said. Buildings shook briefly in the capital Taipei.
Science parks in the southern cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung, home to major semiconductor factories, said there was no impact on operations.
Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is prone to earthquakes.
More than 100 people were killed in a quake in southern Taiwan in 2016, while a 7.3 magnitude quake killed more than 2,000 people in 1999. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee; Additional reporting by Martin Quin Pollard, Sam Nussey and Anirudh Saligrama; Editing by Lincoln Feast)
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