7.4 magnitude quake hits Taiwan, strongest in 25 years

By Nectar Gan, Wayne Chang, Jerome Taylor, Antoinette Radford, Deva Lee and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 9:09 p.m. ET, April 3, 2024
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1:16 a.m. ET, April 3, 2024

Taiwanese semiconductor company temporarily evacuates plants following earthquake

From CNN's Juliana Liu

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. logo is seen atop a building in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on January 9, 2023.
The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. logo is seen atop a building in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on January 9, 2023. Mike Kai Chen/Bloomberg/Getty Images/File

Taiwanese semiconductor company TSMC has temporarily evacuated manufacturing plants following a 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the island on Wednesday morning, the firm told CNN.

"TSMC’s safety systems are operating normally," the company said, adding "to ensure the safety of personnel, some fabs were evacuated according to company procedure."
"All personnel are safe, and those evacuated are beginning to return to their workplaces," TSMC said.

According to initial inspections, the company's construction sites are normal, but it "has decided to suspend work at construction sites for today, and work will resume following further inspections," according to a statement from TSMC.

11:58 p.m. ET, April 2, 2024

One dead after powerful Taiwan earthquake

From CNN's Wayne Chang

One person has been killed in Taiwan after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit the island, based on preliminary data from Taiwan's National Fire Agency (NFA).

The person was hiking in Hualien County, NFA said.

Officials are still gathering more information about casualties, according to NFA. 

11:48 p.m. ET, April 2, 2024

Video shows landslide swallowing road in central Taiwan after earthquake

From CNN's Nectar Gan

A social media video captures a massive landslide in Hualien, Taiwan.
A social media video captures a massive landslide in Hualien, Taiwan. Byron Wan/X (formerly Twitter)

Videos posted by Taiwan residents on social media and geolocated by CNN show some of the damage from a 7.4 magnitude earthquake that rocked the island early on Wednesday.

In the eastern county of Hualien, near the epicenter of the quake, social media footage showed several collapsed buildings and residents helping trapped people escape through the window of a damaged apartment complex. 

At a road intersection, a crowd of morning commuters on scooters and motorbikes watched as a multi-storey red building tilted sideways, a separate video showed.

Another video from Hualien captured a massive landslide coming down the mountain, with clouds of brown dust swallowing a section of the road and buildings nearby.

In the capital Taipei, in the north of the island, a video showed a subway car shaking violently, with passengers holding onto the handles tightly.

11:55 p.m. ET, April 2, 2024

Aftershocks as high as magnitude 7 expected to hit Taiwan in the next few days

From CNN's Wayne Chang

Taiwan is expected to be hit by aftershocks over the next three to four days following a 7.4 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday morning, according to the island's Central Weather Administration.

The aftershocks could be as strong as a magnitude 6.5 to 7.0, a spokesperson for the administration said at a news conference.

10:57 p.m. ET, April 2, 2024

Beijing offers relief assistance after Taiwan earthquake

From CNN’s Wayne Chang and Manveena Suri

Zhu Fenglian speaks during a regular press conference on February 28, 2024 in Beijing, China.
Zhu Fenglian speaks during a regular press conference on February 28, 2024 in Beijing, China. Zhang Yu/China News Service/VCG/Getty Images/File

Beijing has offered relief assistance after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan on Wednesday morning, according to China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian. 

“Relevant parties in the mainland were highly concerned and express their sincere condolences to the Taiwan compatriots affected by the disaster,” Zhu said.

She added they would “pay close attention to the disaster situation and aftermaths, and are willing to provide disaster relief assistance.”

Some background: China's ruling Communist Party claims Taiwan as its own territory, but it has never controlled the self-ruling democratic island.

10:58 p.m. ET, April 2, 2024

Taiwan's President instructs administration to provide assistance following earthquake

From CNN's Wayne Change

Tsai Ing-wen gives a speech in Taipei, Taiwan, on October 10, 2023.
Tsai Ing-wen gives a speech in Taipei, Taiwan, on October 10, 2023. I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg/Getty Images/File

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said she has "immediately instructed the administration to get on top of the situation and understand local impacts as soon as possible," following an earthquake that struck the island early on Wednesday.

Tsai has also instructed the administration to "provide necessary assistance, and work together with local governments to minimize the impact of the disaster," according to a post on her Facebook page.

10:53 p.m. ET, April 2, 2024

People trapped after 26 buildings collapsed in Taiwan earthquake

From CNN's Wayne Change

In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a man checks a partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3.
In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a man checks a partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3. TVBS/AP

People are trapped in Taiwan after a powerful earthquake that hit the island on Wednesday morning caused the collapse of at least 26 buildings, according to Taiwan's Central Emergency Command Center (CEOC).

There are reports of people trapped in seven of the buildings, CEOC added.

The collapsed buildings include 15 in Hualien County near the epicenter, CEOC said.

The quake has also affected power supplies, with more than 91,000 households without electricity, CEOC said, adding that the island's state-operated Taipower Company is currently working to fix the issue. 

CEOC also noted that some train services in eastern Taiwan have been suspended, but it's estimated that they'll be operational again by the end of the day.

7:06 a.m. ET, April 3, 2024

Taiwan's eastern coast is a beautiful and rugged tourist draw

From CNN's Jerome Taylor

Taiwan’s east coast is breathtakingly rugged and a major tourist draw, its geography a testament to the powerful tectonic forces that lie underneath. 

The island is located where the Philippines Sea Plate meets the vast Eurasian Plate. The result is a tear-drop-shaped island that boasts a towering spine of mountains running down its middle and an eastern coast that often experiences tremors.

Taiwan’s western side is where the majority of the population live, home to the largest cities, an extensive high-speed train network and much of the industrial heartland. 

In contrast, the east coast is much less populated and rural. Winding roads and a much slower train line cling to steep cliffs and have to go through dozens of tunnels. 

The city of Hualien itself is the gateway to many popular tourist sights including the famous Taroko Gorge and the dramatic Qingshui Cliffs, a 21-kilometer stretch of sheer cliffs that average more than 800m high. 

To the south of Hualien lies many coastal spots that are particularly popular with surfers and cyclists as well as the Huadong Valley, also known as the East Rift Valley, which boasts many beautiful rural villages.

Read more about Taiwan's picturesque eastern coast.

3:46 a.m. ET, April 3, 2024

Flights have resumed at Japan’s Naha Airport on Okinawa

From CNN’s Himari Semans and Manveena Suri

Naha airport in the southern Japan island prefecture of Okinawa is crowded on April 3, after operations were temporarily suspended following a tsunami warning due to a powerful earthquake off Taiwan. 
Naha airport in the southern Japan island prefecture of Okinawa is crowded on April 3, after operations were temporarily suspended following a tsunami warning due to a powerful earthquake off Taiwan.  Kyodo/Reuters

All flights to and from Japan’s Naha Airport on Okinawa island have resumed after a tsunami warning issued for the area was downgraded, the airport's spokesperson Hideaki Tsurudo told CNN on Wednesday.

Okinawa was impacted by small tsunami waves under 30 centimeters (11 inches) following the earthquake in Taiwan, resulting in flights to be suspended. But no waves reached the airport and it was thereby reopened, according to Tsurudo.