‘I just started praying.’ Georgia native describes terror of 7.4 Taiwan earthquake

Earthquake damage

ATLANTA — A massive earthquake hit the country of Taiwan overnight and now a Georgia native is describing the terrifying moments when everything began to shake around her.

The 7.4 quake sent buildings toppling to the ground during the morning rush hour. It is the strongest earthquake to hit the country in 25 years.

So far, at least nine people are dead and more than 1,000 people have been injured. The quake and aftershocks also caused 24 landslides and damage to roads, bridges and tunnels.

Alexandra Chrysosferdis, a Swainsboro native, told WJBF that she has never lived through anything like it.

“I just started praying,” Chrysosferdis told the Augusta TV station. “ I had never experienced something so violent, and I was holding on to the door frames and my refrigerator started moving and you know a refrigerator is quite massive. And then the shoe rack started moving and the shoes flipped over, and the picture frames fell. And shoes flew out and the drawers started opening and closing.”

The Japan Meteorological Agency said a tsunami of about a foot was detected on the coast of Yonaguni island about 15 minutes after the quake struck.

Smaller waves were measured in Ishigaki and Miyako islands. All alerts in the region had been lifted by Wednesday afternoon.

Taiwan lies along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” the line of seismic faults encircling the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes occur.

The economic fallout from the quake has yet to be calculated, but Taiwan is the leading manufacturer of the world’s most sophisticated computer chips and other high-technology items that are highly sensitive to seismic events. Parts of the electricity grid were shut down, possibly leading to disruptions in the supply chain and financial losses.

Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC, which supplies semiconductors to companies such as Apple, said it evacuated employees from some of its factories in Hsinchu, southwest of Taipei. Hsinchu authorities said water and electricity supplies for all the factories in the city’s science park were functioning as normal.

The Taiwan stock exchange opened as usual on Wednesday, with the index wavering between losses and gains.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.





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