7.5-magnitude earthquake hits near Taiwan, Japan tsunami warnings

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A 7.5-magnitude earthquake has hit near Taiwan, prompting a tsunami warning for waves as high as three metres in nearby Japan.

Taiwan’s central weather administration initially registered the earthquake magnitude as 7.2 at 9:00 am local time (10am AEDT).

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4, with its epicentre 18 kilometres south of Taiwan’s Hualien City at a depth of 34.8 kilometres.

As a result, parts of the city reportedly lost power, while early footage and images from the Asian territory show varying degrees of destruction.

Some show half-fallen large buildings in Hualien, near the epicentre, with severe damage, while another shows a bridge violently shaking,

Early reports from local media suggest people may be trapped in debris.

Buildings collapse after earthquake strikes Taipei, Taiwan

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Tsunami warnings for southern Japanese islands have been triggered.

“Evacuate!” a banner on Japan’s national broadcaster NHK read on Wednesday morning.

“Tsunami is coming. Please evacuate immediately,” an NHK anchor also said, according to AFP.

“Do not stop. Do not go back.”

The Philippines Seismology Agency alsowarned its residents in some coastal areasto evacuate to higher ground, while the quake was feltas far away as China’s Fujian province, according state media.

Tsunami waves as high as three metres (10 feet) were expected immediately for remote Japanese islands near Taiwan, including Miyakojima island.

Authorities in Taiwan have warned: “The earthquake may trigger a tsunami that will affect Taiwan. A tsunami warning is issued to remind people in coastal areas to be vigilant.”

AFP reported also noted “major aftershocks hitting the island”.

More to come …