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Taiwan to upgrade quake alert system for urban areas

Country endeavoring to improve early warning mechanism for better response

Graphic of a magnitude-6.0 quake that hits Taiwan Jan. 3, 2022. (CWB image)

Graphic of a magnitude-6.0 quake that hits Taiwan Jan. 3, 2022. (CWB image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is working to shorten the time a text message is dispatched after an earthquake strikes for urban areas as part of its disaster mitigation effort.

A customized early warning system will be adopted for urban areas in Taiwan hit by shallow quakes with a magnitude of five or stronger. The time an SMS is sent will be cut from ten seconds currently to seven by 2025, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) on Thursday (Jan. 13).

This will be achieved by improving the country’s powerful tremor monitoring network, increasing the number of monitoring sites that can transmit real-time data to the CWB. The number of such facilities will be boosted from 500 to 600 out of the total 700, per CNA.

Once the upgrade is done, the blind zone for alerting about large quakes will be reduced from a radius of 35 kilometers to 25 kilometers, the CWB estimated.

A quake with a depth of 30-70 kilometers is defined as “shallow,” and “very shallow” for one 0 to 30 km deep, according to the CWB.

Taiwan is prone to seismic events, with a 6.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the east coast and rattled all of Taiwan proper on Jan. 3 causing great alarm. Experts have expressed concern over a potentially devastating quake with a magnitude of 8.0 or higher to hit the country in the near future, wrote UDN.