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Series of Aftershocks Continue to Shake Hualien Taiwan; No Impact on TSMC Operations

The serene landscape of Taiwan’s eastern county, Hualien, was interrupted by over a hundred tremors during the late hours of Monday into early Tuesday, as the area continued to feel the effects of a significant seismic event from earlier in the month. Despite the frequency of these aftershocks, incidents of damage remained minor, with no human casualties reported. In an assurance to both local residents and global stakeholders, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, a leading chipmaker in the region, announced no adverse effects on its operations.

The bucolic charm of Hualien, a county more rural in character and lesser in population density, stood as a stark contrast to the turmoil beneath it. The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck on April 3rd had led to the loss of at least 14 lives and has since been followed by over 1,000 aftershocks, indicating the unsettled nature of the local geology. The quakes, experienced across wide swathes of northern, eastern, and western Taiwan, including Taipei the capital, brought rattling nights to residents, with the strongest of these aftershocks registering at 6.3 in magnitude on the Richter scale. Moreover, their very shallow origins added to the perceived intensity.

According to the Central Weather Administration of Taiwan, the aftershocks, numbering approximately 180 since Monday afternoon, are linked to the April 3rd quake. Wu Chien-fu, Director of the Seismological Centre, briefed the press on the phenomena, noting the “concentrated release of energy” observed in the seismic pattern and did not dismiss the possibility of further occurrences, though potentially of lesser strength.

With the forecast predicting substantial rainfall across the island this week, concerns mount for Hualien County residents who already contend with recent shake-ups. Live updates from local authorities, including the fire department, indicated that two unoccupied buildings previously damaged in the April quake suffered additional harm and were reported to be tilting. However, reassuringly, no casualties have emerged from these recent incidents.

Taiwan, situated near the juncture of two tectonic plates, is no stranger to seismic activity. Tragic reminders of its vulnerability to such natural disasters include the 2016 quake in southern Taiwan that claimed over a hundred lives and the 7.3 magnitude tremor in 1999, which resulted in a death toll exceeding 2,000. These historical tragedies underscore the importance of stringent building codes and effective emergency response plans.

The economic pulse of the region, particularly with respect to the semiconductor industry, felt no skipped beats. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the world’s preeminent contract chipmaker with facilities on the western coast, experienced minor operational disruptions. The firm reported brief evacuations at selected factories, yet all systems, including safety mechanisms, remained operational, and employee safety was uncompromised. In the face of potential disaster, TSMC’s level-headed response and preparedness affirmed investor confidence, as evidenced by a 1.75% rise in the company’s shares on the Taipei stock market Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, preventative measures including roadblocks due to rockfalls and suspension of work and school schedules were enacted in Hualien County. Such precautionary steps highlight the Taiwanese government’s commitment to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its citizens during such geological upheavals.

As Taiwan readies itself for more challenges, both from the skies and the earth, a palpable resilience characterizes this island nation, adeptly balancing the demands of nature with the imperatives of modern life. The recent events in Hualien reveal a community poised and primed, undeterred by the shaking ground beneath it.