The earthquake rocks Taiwan and causes buildings to collapse

The 1999 Sept. 21, 1999 “Jiji” earthquake on the island of Taiwan: The last earthquake of a magnitude 7 or greater to hit the island

According to Taiwan media, the last earthquake of a magnitude 7 or greater to hit the island was the Sept. 21, 1999, “Jiji” earthquake that measured 7.3, which destroyed thousands of buildings and killed more than 2,400 people.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.4 and was centered near the eastern city of Hualien. The depth was only about 22 miles. Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency gave the magnitude as 7.2.

Images on television showed extensive damage, including buildings listing to the side after having been shaken off their foundations. Work and schools were suspended in Hualien, an area with 300,000 residents. About 87,000 people in Hualien, the center of the island, were without electricity, due to the shut down of eight power plants.

Taiwan’s transportation authorities said train service was suspended island-wide, as well as subway service in Taipei. Videos from the epicenter show rockslides covering roads and houses that were knocked off-kilter.

The southern Japanese island group of Okinawa was predicted to be hit by a 3 meters (10 feet) wave soon after. The wave was detected about 15 minutes after the earthquake on the coast of Yonaguni island. Waves are thought to hit the coast of Miyako and Yaeyama islands.

The three killed hikers trapped on the trail leading to Taroko Gorge in Hualien County, Taiwan, during a major earthquake

Hualien County is home to Taroko National Park, one of Taiwan’s most popular scenic areas. Taroko Gorge is carved by the Liu River, and is a striated marble canyon cut through mountains that rise steeply from the coast. The city of Hualien is a popular destination as a gateway to the national park.

The three hikers were trapped on the trail near the entrance to the gorge after rocks fell on them during a major earthquake on Wednesday. Two of them were found dead, the news agency said. The administrators of the park said many roads inside the park had been cut off by the earthquake and could be used to trap hikers.

Many of the victims in that earthquake were in the tilted 12-story building, the first four of which were completely crushed according to reports from the time. There was a 6.1 magnitude earthquake that killed 17 people and injured 17 in the next year.

The area has some of the highest concentrations of aboriginals in Taiwan, with several of the island’s Indigenous tribes calling the county home.

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