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TAIPEI, Taiwan – An earthquake struck Wednesday on the eastern coast of Taiwan, prompting officials in regions around the island to warn of a potential tsunami.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the magnitude 7.4 quake hit just before 8 a.m. (just before 8 p.m. Eastern Tuesday) about 11 miles to the south-southwest of Hualien City. It was followed about 15 minutes later by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake about 7 miles northeast of Hualien City.


NOAA’s Tsunami Warning System said there does not appear to be a threat to Hawaii, any U.S. territories in the Pacific Ocean or the West Coast.

According to the agency, tsunami waves could be as high as 9 feet above tide level along the coasts of China and Taiwan, while waves as high as 3 feet above tide level in Japan. Smaller waves are expected in places such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea and Vietnam.

Tsunami alerts were issued in Japan for the Okinawa prefecture.

Video from the island in the western Pacific showed buildings that collapsed due to the extensive shaking and rescue operations underway to find victims.

The quake was the strongest in nearly 25 years, when a 7.6-magnitude earthquake in 1999 killed more than 2,400 and destroyed thousands of buildings.

Several landslides were reported on the eastern side of the island, which is one of the lesser populated regions.

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