Taiwan hit by 7.7-magnitude earthquake; tsunami warnings issued for Japan

An earthquake offshore Taiwan with a magnitude of 7.7 rocked Taipei, the capital, on Wednesday morning, knocking out power in several parts of the city and sparking a tsunami warning for the islands of southern Japan and the Philippines.

Taiwan TV stations showed footage of some collapsed buildings in Hualien, near the quake's epicentre, and media reported some people were trapped.

Japanese officials have lifted all tsunami advisories, after earlier downgrading them from tsunami warnings.

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The quake could be felt as far as Shanghai, according to a Reuters witness. The epicentre was just off the coast of eastern county of Hualien, in waters off eastern coastline of Taiwan Island, the country's central weather administration said.

Japan issued an evacuation advisory for the coastal areas of the southern prefecture of Okinawa. Tsunami waves of up to 3m were expected to reach large areas of Japan's southwestern coast, according to the country's meteorological agency, which put the quake magnitude at 7.5.

The Philippines Seismology Agency also issued a warning for residents in coastal areas of several provinces, urging them to evacuate to higher ground.

New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency has confirmed there is no tsunami threat to Aotearoa.

"We will continue to monitor the situation," it said.

According to Beijing state media, the quake was felt in Fuzhou, Xiamen, Quanzhou and Ningde in China's Fujian province.

The Taipei city government has not received any reports of damage and the city's MRT was up and running soon after.

Southern Taiwan Science Park, where semiconductor giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co has a plant, said companies were operating without impact.

Taiwan's official central news agency said the quake was the biggest to hit the island since 1999 when a 7.6-magnitude tremor killed about 2400 people. 

This is breaking news - more to come.

Reuters / Newshub.