Powerful earthquake hits southeast Taiwan, tsunami warning issued

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TAIPEI, Sept 18 (Reuters) – A 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the sparsely populated southeastern part of Taiwan on Sunday, the island’s weather bureau said, with some early reports of damage, including a derailed train, and triggering tsunami warnings.

The meteorological bureau said the epicenter was in Taitung County, and followed a 6.4 magnitude earthquake Saturday night in the same area, which caused no casualties.

The US Geological Survey measured the quake at a magnitude of 7.2 and at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles).

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Taiwanese media said a low-rise building housing a convenience store had collapsed and rescue work had begun to free those inside.

At least one car has derailed at an east coast station. The rail authority said there were no casualties.

The US Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning to Taiwan after the tremor. He said dangerous tsunami waves were possible within 300 km (190 miles) of the epicenter along Taiwan’s coasts.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a warning for 1-meter tsunami waves for part of Okinawa Prefecture following the quake.

The quake could be felt across Taiwan, the weather bureau said. Buildings briefly shook in the capital Taipei.

Science parks in the southern cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung, home to large semiconductor factories, said there was no impact on operations.

Taiwan sits near the junction of two tectonic plates and is prone to earthquakes.

More than 100 people were killed in an earthquake in southern Taiwan in 2016, while a magnitude 7.3 earthquake killed more than 2,000 people in 1999.

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Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee; Additional reporting by Martin Quin Pollard, Sam Nussey and Anirudh Saligrama; Editing by Lincoln Feast

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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