Quake hits Taiwan, triggers tsunami

Published December 27, 2006

TAIPEI, Dec 26: A powerful earthquake struck off south-western Taiwan on Tuesday, triggering a potentially destructive tsunami that was headed toward the Philippines on the second anniversary of the deadly waves that killed thousands in southern Asia.

No damage or injuries were immediately reported.

Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said the quake measured magnitude 6.7, while the US Geological Survey put it at 7.1.

Japan’s Meteorological Bureau said a one-meter (3.3-foot)-high tsunami was headed toward the eastern coast of the Philippines.

“There is a possibility of a destructive local tsunami,” the bureau said, saying waves were expected to hit Basco in the Philippines.

“However at some coasts, particularly those near the epicentre, higher tsunami may arrive,” it said. “Authorities should be aware of this possibility.”

Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said an aftershock measuring 6.4 magnitude struck a nearby area about nine minutes later.

The quakes hit on the second anniversary of a massive earthquake off Indonesia that triggered a powerful tsunami in the Indian Ocean which killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

Tuesday’s quake was felt throughout Taiwan, Taiwan’s weather bureau said. It swayed buildings and knocked objects off the shelves in the capital, Taipei.Phone lines were cut in southern Taiwan from Kaohsiung to Pingtung, possibly hindering reports of damage by residents, the CTI Cable News reported. Several high-rise hotels swayed violently in Kaohsiung, it said.

The tremor was centred at sea about 23 kilometers southwest of Hengchun on the southern tip of Taiwan, the bureau said.—AP

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