OFWs in Taiwan, take note.
A study conducted by scientists warns of a potential tsunami, particularly in the south-western coast in the country. According to them, a massive tsunami in the South China Sea claimed more than 40,000 lives back in the 18th century.
Scientists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) in Nanyang Technological University have determined that the tragedy was caused by an underwater landslide which was likely triggered by an earthquake.
“A similar event today like that in the 18th century,” according to EOS Assistant Professor Adam Switzer, “would endanger millions of lives in the coastal cities like Kaohsiung and Tainan and damage infrastructure located at the south of Taiwan.”
Kaohsiung and Tainan cities have a population of more than 4.5 million people. Making things riskier is the fact that the Maanshan Nuclear Power Plant is located on the coast. This has been a cause of concern for anti-nuclear activists who have been actively campaigning against establishing of nuclear energy on areas that are prone to earthquake.
Switzer estimates that a 7 magnitude earthquake will likely lead to a tsunami. In the past, Southwest Taiwan has experienced three devastative earthquakes with the latest being in 2006 where a 7.1 magnitude earthquake caused an underwater landslide. Submarine cables were damaged in the process which led to internet and telecommunication problems in East Asia. The earthquake also triggered a tsunami, although it was only 40cm in height.
“Can it happen again? Absolutely,” confirmed Switzer. “Will it happen tomorrow or in the next 100 years? I can’t tell you that. But there is a very clear danger that that region would experience a magnitude-7 earthquake which can generate a sub-marine landslide.”
At present, Taiwan has already taken action and built emergency cooling towers and increased sea wall heights for the Maanshan Nuclear Power Plant in the hopes of preventing a disaster like what happened in Fukushima, Japan. Taiwan has also conducted tests for tsunami alert to help the public be familiarized with it.
Still, Switzer said that an earthquake serves as the red flag. “The earthquake is the warning,” he said. “If there is an earthquake, seek higher ground.”