6.8 magnitude earthquake hits Taiwan, sparks tsunami fears

A major 6.8-magnitude earthquake has hit the southeastern area of Taiwan, with two international weather bureaus issuing a tsunami warning.

While no casualties have been reported, the tremors were felt in Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei more than 300km away.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake began at 2.44pm local time (4.44pm AEST) and was recorded at a depth of 10km.

The shakes prompted the Japanese Meteorological Agency to issue a tsunami warning, advising that waves could hit up to 1m from 4.10pm local time (6.10pm AEST). The US Tsunami Warning Centre issued a similar warning that said hazardous waves were possible within 300km of the epicentre’s coastline. As a result, residents have been asked to avoid the island’s coastline.

In the aftermath of the quake, local media, states that the tremors caused a two-storey residential building and convenience store to collapse. Taiwan’s fire department reports two people have been rescued from the building which containued the collapsed convenience store, with another two people still trapped.

Taiwan Railways Administration confirmed that three carriages came off the rails at Dongli station due to a collapsed canopy, with around 20 passengers evacuated from the train.

Roughly another 68 people are believed to be stranded in the Chike mountain area, which is popular with hikers. However no injuries have been recorded.

This comes as a large 6.4-magnitude earthquake from Saturday, which occurred just after 9.30pm local time.

A major bridge in the country government of Hualien was also badly damaged in the earthquake. According to the Strait Times, rescue efforts have begun for three people who fell off the structure.

In another video shared on Twitter, Bloomberg journalist Tim Culpan shared incredible footage of a couple who was stranded between two sections of the collapsed highway.

“This couple is stranded on a bridge between two collapsed sections of a highway in SE Taiwan after multiple quakes struck the area, including one measuring 6.8 which hit at 14:44,” he tweeted on Sunday afternoon.

On social media, CNN Senior International Correspondent Will Ripley, shared a video from Taipei which showed hit light fixtures and plants shaking during the earthquake

“Wow. Another big earthquake in Taiwan. This one was a 6.8 with the epicentre in Taitung County,” he wrote.

“Even stronger than the 6.4 on Saturday. This video is from Taipei, more than 200 miles (321km) from Taitung.”

Originally published as 6.8 magnitude earthquake hits Taiwan, sparks tsunami fears

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