7.4-magnitude earthquake hits near Taiwan, rocking the island and triggering tsunami warnings

An earthquake with a strong magnitude of 7.4 struck off eastern Taiwan Wednesday morning local time, triggering tsunami warnings.

The earthquake struck about 11 miles from Hualien City, Taiwan, according to the United States Geological Survey, rocking the entire island and collapsing buildings. It was followed by a 6.5-magnitude earthquake.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System issued a warning of possible hazardous tsunami waves possible for coasts within 300 km (about 186 miles) from the earthquake’s epicenter, saying China, Taiwan and Japan may be affected.

Japan also issued a tsunami alert for the southern Japanese island group of Okinawa, and Japan’s meteorological agency forecast a tsunami of up to 3 meters (9.8 feet). About half an hour later, it said the first wave of the tsunami was already believed to have arrived on the coasts of Miyako and Yaeyama islands.

Television showed buildings in the eastern city of Hualien shaken off their foundations. Islandwide train service was suspended, as was subway service in the capital Taipei. The quake struck at 7:58 a.m. on the other side of the island from Taipei, but was strong enough to knock items off shelves in the city.

This is a breaking news update. Please check back for developments.

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