Live: Tsunami predicted in Japan after 7.7 earthquake, reports of collapsed buildings in Taiwan

People are reportedly trapped under buildings in Taiwan after a 7.7 earthquake that has also prompted tsunami warnings in the region. It is Taiwan’s strongest quake in 25 years, Taipei’s Seismology Centre says.

Media in Taiwan are reporting people have been trapped under collapsed buildings in the city of Hualien following the quake on Wednesday.

TV stations are screening footage of buildings that have collapsed and power is out to some parts of capital Taipei, witnesses say.

Earlier, the quake was reported to be M7.2, but the Japan Meteorological Agency has upgraded the magnitude to 7.7.

Military personnel have been dispatched to help with disaster relief and schools and workplaces have suspended operations as aftershocks hit Taiwan, CNN is reporting.

There is no tsunami threat to New Zealand, GNS Science and NEMA have confirmed.

However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says there are 137 New Zealanders registered with it in Taiwan and 428 in Japan.

It says Kiwis in areas affected in Taiwan and Japan should follow the advice of local authorities.

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Japan has also issued an evacuation advisory for the coastal areas near the southern prefecture of Okinawa after the tsunami warning.

Waves up to 3 metres were expected to reach Japan’s southwestern coast around, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Its epicentre was in the waters off the eastern coastline of Taiwan, according to the country’s Central Weather Administration.

A tsunami measuring 0.3 metres has already reached Yonaguni island, in southwestern Japan, NHK has reported.

Japan was rocked by its deadliest quake in eight years on New Year’s Day when a 7.6 magnitude temblor struck in Ishikawa prefecture, on the western coast. More than 230 people died in the quake that left 44,000 homes fully or partially destroyed.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about one-fifth of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

On March 11, 2011, the northeast coast was struck by a magnitude 9 earthquake, the strongest quake in Japan on record, and a massive tsunami. Those events triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier.


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