Taiwan earthquake: Indian authorities actively monitoring, assisting nationals, says Indian scholar in Taipei

Apr 03, 2024

Taipei [Taiwan], April 3 : Indian authorities in Taiwan are monitoring the situation and are actively disseminating information for its nationals in the island country after a powerful 7.4 Ritcher scale magnitude earthquake struck off its east coast on Wednesday morning, killing at least four people, according to Indian scholar Sana Hashmi who was in Taipei when the quake hit.
Speaking to ANI, Hashmi, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the Taiwan Asia Exchange Foundation said that the Indian authorities in Taiwan have actively responded to the situation to safeguard its nationals in the country, issued an advisory for them and are also in touch with them.
"I'm also reading in the news that we might also see and experience aftershocks with greater intensity in the coming days. So I think the government is definitely preparing for it, and people are also prepared. This might also happen and there's a lot of awareness that is being spread right now. WhatsApp groups are being activated... The government is being very, very active in disseminating information," she said.
Taiwan's Central Weather Administration said the earthquake registered the second-highest intensity of an "Upper 6" in Hualien county, on the 1-7 intensity scale.
At least four people were killed and over 700 injured in the quake which is said to be the strongest tremor to hit the island in the last 25 years and has caused multiple buildings to collapse in Hualien, the city closest to the epicentre.
Local authorities swung into operations in the affected areas to rescue people trapped in buildings, Focus Taiwan reported.
According to Hashmi local authorities were swift in their response. "The electricity was gone for a few hours in some areas, not entirely; the metro, high-speed train everything has been resumed. So, life is pretty much back to normal where there is no damage at places such as Taipei. The accountability and level of support are higher..."
According to Hashmi the Indian office in Taiwan is very active and are in touch with the Indians in Taiwan. "They have issued an advisory. So definitely I'm seeing a lot of effort, a lot of messages that have been disseminated since morning," she said.
Hashmi also recounted her first response as the earthquake hit the country, which she said is in an earthquake-prone area.
"Earthquakes are very common in Taiwan, But of course, today's earthquake was very different in a way that the intensity was higher, the duration was longer.... it's pretty scary, specifically in places like Hualian, Taitung but not so much in Taipei. The intensity was definitely very, very strong, but we didn't really see the impact as much as we see individuals from Hualian," she said.
"When it happened in the morning, people were definitely a little scared and there was an atmosphere of fear. But then despite that, I think that people are quite used to earthquakes and people are very resilient. So no matter what happens, people here remain calm. So I think that was the thing that we also experienced when they earthquake hit in the morning," the Indian postdoctoral fellow at the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation said.
The Indian researcher highlighted that the authorities are preparing for the aftershocks that could affect the national capital of Taiwan, Taipei.
"I think we are experiencing aftershocks this morning, and according to news or even our own experience now....We are not sure if they're actually aftershocks or we are just feeling dizzy. But definitely, there are aftershocks. They're very strong aftershocks. And I'm also reading in the news that we might also see and experience aftershocks with greater intensity in the coming days. So I think the government is definitely preparing for it, and people are also prepared," she said.
"Actually before this, we generally receive a message before any national calamity happens and even before earthquake has been a few seconds before, but this time, a lot of people didn't receive it. So a lot of people are asking questions about the effectiveness of such alerts. So we are not seeing it yet. But, of course, there are casualties, sadly," she said.
Earlier today, the Indian Taipei Association requested to follow advisories issued by the local authorities and also issued a helpline for assistance and guidance to all Indian nationals living in Taiwan. It also urged the Indian nationals in Taiwan to share this advisory through their local networks for wider circulation.
Tsunami waves were observed on the coasts of Taiwan and far southwestern Japanese islands after the 7.4 temblor hit Taiwan this morning morning. CNN reported that there were no immediate reports of any major damage caused by these waves.
The epicentre of the temblor was located in the Pacific Ocean, 25 km south-southeast of Hualien County Hall, at a depth of 15.5 km, according to the administration's Seismology Center, Central News Agency reported.
An intensity level of 5+ was reported in Yilan County in the northeast and in Miaoli County in the north, while 5- was reported in Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan City and Hsinchu County in the north, Taichung City, Changhua County and Nantou County in central Taiwan, the Central Weather Agency informed.