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Strong 6.9-magnitude earthquake hits Taiwan, triggers tsunami warning

Japan issues a tsunami warning near Okinawa, where officials advised residents to stay clear of the coastline.
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A powerful 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan Sunday, derailing carriages and prompting tsunami warnings in southern Japan.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at 7.2-magnitude before downgrading it to 6.9 and said the tsunami threat had passed.

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said the quake, which struck near Taitung city on its southeastern coast, registered 6.8 magnitude and was a relatively shallow depth of 4 miles. 

A series of after-shocks were felt across the island, including in Taipei, which is more than 200 miles away. Over 100 tremors were recorded in the past 24 hours, according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau.

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan on Sept.18, 2022.
A 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan on Sunday.USGS

Near the epicenter, Taiwanese media showed a low-rise building housing a convenience store had collapsed, according to photographs from the scene. Rescue operations were underway, according to media outlets in Taiwan.

In the neighboring county of Hualien, three carriages were derailed after a platform canopy collapsed, Taiwanese Railway authorities said. Twenty people onboard were evacuated, it said. 

Tremors were also felt in the surrounding region, with Japan initially issuing a tsunami warning near the Okinawa prefecture. Japan’s Meteorological Agency had lifted all tsunami warnings for the country as of Sunday evening local time.

Image: Firefighters in the search for trapped victims in a collapsed residential building following earthquake in Yuli township in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.
Firefighters the search for trapped victims in a collapsed residential building after an earthquake in Yuli township in Hualien County in eastern Taiwan on Sunday. Hualien County Fire Department via AP

The quake was also detected in Hong Kong, the city’s observatory said.

A 6.4-magnitude quake had earlier rattled Taitung on Saturday.

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.