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Taiwan to consider issuing nationwide quake alert more widely: CWA

04/04/2024 11:14 PM
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Elementary school students carry a protective gear and gather at the school playground in New Taipei, following a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Taiwan. CNA photo April 3, 2024
Elementary school students carry a protective gear and gather at the school playground in New Taipei, following a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Taiwan. CNA photo April 3, 2024

Taipei, April 4 (CNA) The Central Weather Administration (CWA) will issue the nation's emergency alert on a larger scale after many people in Taiwan have complained of not getting the earthquake message on their cellphone on Wednesday when a magnitude 7.2 quake struck.

According to a CWA release, when the 7.2 magnitude temblor struck off the coast of eastern Taiwan at 7:58 a.m. that day, two separate alert text messages were issued seconds later.

The first one was for residents in Hualien, Yilan, Nantou and Changhua counties, while the second was sent to people living in the cities and counties of Taichung, Miaoli, Hsinchu, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan and Taitung, the CWA said.

There was, however, no alert for Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Kaohsiung and Pingtung County.

The CWA Seismology Center explained that the national-level warning is only issued for quakes with a magnitude above five.

It said the intensity of an earthquake, which gauges the actual effect of a seismic event, will also need to reach 4 on Taiwan's 7-level scale for an earthquake message to be sent.

But because the nation's earthquake early warning system provided an estimate of the magnitude to be between 6.2 and 6.8, this impacted the estimate of the intensity level, the center said.

In the future, it said the conditions for issuing an earthquake warning will be adjusted to accommodate a flexible margin of error, rather than just taking a single value into account, so that the public can receive the alert in a timely manner.

Although some places did not receive the alert text message, the center said it still used other methods to inform the public about the quake in places with an intensity level above 3 via different television broadcast stations.

According to CWA data, Taiwan has so far experienced more than 360 aftershocks since Wednesday's devastating earthquake, which has so far killed 10 people and injured 1,099 others.

(By Chang Hsiung-feng and Ko Lin)

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An earthquake alert sent out in Hualien County for an aftershock on Friday. CNA photo April 5, 2024
An earthquake alert sent out in Hualien County for an aftershock on Friday. CNA photo April 5, 2024

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