Taiwan rocked by 7.4 magnitude earthquake, leaving at least 9 dead and more than 1,000 injured. What to know.

A strong earthquake rocked Taiwan early Wednesday, toppling buildings and leaving at least nine dead, dozens of others trapped and more than 1,000 people injured, officials there say.

The magnitude 7.4 earthquake was the most powerful to hit the island in 25 years, damaging buildings, causing landslides and knocking out power for thousands of people.

📍 When and where did the earthquake strike?

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake was centered about 15 miles south of Hualien City and struck just before 8 a.m. local time. It triggered a tsunami warning and was followed by at least 76 aftershocks in less than five hours, according to Taiwanese officials.

People are accustomed to regular quakes in Taiwan, which according to the Associated Press has some of the world's most advanced preparedness systems. "But authorities said they had expected a relatively mild earthquake and accordingly did not send out alerts," the AP reported. "The eventual temblor was strong enough to scare even people who are used to such shaking."

🔎 What was damaged?

Two buildings and a major highway in Hualien, a city on Taiwan’s eastern coast, saw extensive damage. A 10-story residential and commercial building in Hualien, called the Uranus Building, partially collapsed. Many of its residents managed to escape, but others were feared missing.

One video shared widely on social media showed the building leaning to one side, stunning onlookers.

Other videos showed cars and buses swaying on a highway during the morning rush hour, and drivers coming to a halt on a trembling roadway.

Television footage showed people, including a toddler, climbing through windows of another partially collapsed building as rescue workers raced to evacuate it.

↘ What is the official death toll?

According to Taiwan’s fire department, the death toll from Wednesday’s quake stands at 9, while 70 people, all in Hualien County, remain trapped. At least 1,011 others were injured, fire officials said.

Among those killed were three hikers, who were hit by falling rocks on a trail in Taroko National Park. The AP reported that a van driver died in the same area when boulders from a rockslide triggered by the quake hit the vehicle.

The fire department said 64 people were trapped in one rock quarry, and six in another.

Cover thumbnail: VCG via Getty Images.

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