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Powerful Earthquake Rocks Taiwan, Damaging Buildings  

Taiwan Earthquake (News Central TV)

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, causing building collapse in a southern city and spurring a tsunami that washed ashore on southern Japanese islands.

In the capital, Taipei, tiles fell from older buildings and within some newer office complexes. A five-story building in Hualien appeared heavily damaged, with its first floor destroyed, leaving the rest leaning at a 45-degree angle.

Authorities have suspended the Train service across the island of 23 million people, as was subway service in Taipei.

However, normalcy was quickly restored in the capital, with pupils heading to school and the morning commute appearing to be normal.

Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency gave the magnitude as 7.2 while the U.S. Geological Survey put it at 7.4. It struck at 7:58 a.m. about 18 kilometres south-southwest of Hualien.

Wu Chien-fu who heads Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring bureau said effects were detected as far away as Kinmen, a Taiwanese-controlled island off the coast of China.

Several reverberations were felt in Taipei in the hour after the initial quake.

A tsunami of up to 3 metres in the southern Japanese island group of Okinawa has been forecast by the Japan Meteorological Agency.

A wave of 30 centimetres was detected on the coast of Yonaguni island about 15 minutes after the quake happened. JAMA said waves may also hit Yaeyama islands and the coasts of Miyako.

The quake was believed to be the biggest in Taiwan since a temblor in 1999 caused extensive damage. Taiwan lies along the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire,’ the line of seismic faults encircling the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquake’s happen.

This is a developing story…

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