Last updated:

2024 Taiwan Earthquake

Support recovery now

On April 3, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Hualien County, Taiwan, resulting in at least 18 deaths and more than 1,100 individuals injured.

The national army was deployed to assist with earthquake rescue and recovery efforts, and the government established a disaster response center in Hualien, the city closest to the epicenter. As of April 25, a Singaporean couple remain missing.

Earthquakes are among the most devastating natural hazards and can cause tsunamis, landslides or even nuclear meltdowns and fires.

Given Taiwan’s vulnerability to earthquakes, robust emergency preparedness measures and response protocols were already in place and activated swiftly, according to the official timeline.

(The Taiwan Ministry of National Defense conducts search and rescue missions after the earthquake, April 5, 2024. Photo credit: Ministry of National Defense via X)

The earthquake hit southwest of Hualien City just before 8 a.m. local time and was followed by almost 700 aftershocks within 24 hours. Tsunami alerts were also issued in Taiwan, China, Japan, and the Philippines but were downgraded and canceled shortly after due to a lack of threat.

Since the 7.4 magnitude earthquake, Taiwan was hit by a series of more than 1,300 aftershocks. The strongest occurred on April 23, measuring at a magnitude of 6.1 and 6.0 by U.S. Geological Services. Taipei’s Central Weather Administration put them at 6.0 and 6.3, respectively.

Every year, Taiwan experiences more than 2,000 small earthquakes, although only a fraction are noticeable to humans. At least 36 active geological fault lines run underneath the island. Its’ east coast is especially vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on some of the most significant fault lines.

The April 3rd earthquake was the strongest to hit Taiwan in 25 years since the devastating 1999 7.7 magnitude earthquake, which killed 2,400 and injured some 10,000.

Following the deadly 1999 earthquake and public demand for better disaster preparedness and response efforts, Taiwan invested heavily in stricter building codes and regulations, specialized earthquake technology and educational public campaigns.

The Earthquake Survey and Report Center of the Central Meteorological Administration released an interactive map of aftershocks that have jolted Taiwan since April 3.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, as of April 4, initial reports found 49,560 households had no access to water, including 9,914 in Hualien County.

Following the strong aftershocks on April 23, almost 400 households in Shoufeng Township situated near the epicenter were affected. While many homes partially collapsed, some households saw their outdoor toilets collapse as well, rendering them unusable.


Critical infrastructure

As of April 8, the National Land Management Agency reported 848 cases of damaged structures in Hualien, Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan.

Of the 848, 42 buildings were confirmed to be in “code red,” the highest level of damage, and 70 were marked as “code yellow” for secondary damage. Almost 700 other cases remain under investigation.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, Mayor Hsu Chen-wei said 48 residential buildings were damaged, some of which were in precarious conditions.

Mountainous roads were buried by landslides and rockfalls, but major infrastructure did not suffer critical damage.

On April 23, a cluster of strong earthquakes deemed as aftershocks from the April 3 earthquake, caused at least four buildings to partially collapse in Hualien County. Many of the buildings were already assessed as structurally unsafe following the April 3 earthquake.

About 100 households in the village of Shoufeng Township were left without electricity by the aftershocks.

Due to Taiwan’s investment in policy, capacity, early warning sign systems and earthquake preparedness, the 7.4 magnitude earthquake had relatively little impact on the 23 million residents of the island. The country has strict building codes and regulations, one of the world’s most advanced earthquake preparedness systems and widespread public education campaigns.

Food and WASH

Emergency teams used helicopters to deliver essentials, such as food and water, to a hotel, church and elementary school where people were stuck due to road damage.

All disruptions to water supply in Hualien County were expected to be returned to normal by April 5. No further updates on water shortage and supply have been released as of May 1.

As damaged infrastructure may take time to be fully restored, alternative sources of WASH services may be needed. In Taiwan, the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced water and electricity fee reduction to assist with recovery and reconstruction in disaster-struck households. Homes that experienced serious damages are exempt from water and electricity charges from March to June 2024.

In Shoufeng Township, a call for assistance for tents, sleeping bags and other essential supplies led the local Red Cross to immediately mobilize and provide assistance to affected residents.

Health care

Ensuring the continuity of health care in disaster-affected areas is a critical need, given the damage to buildings and the challenges with access because of damage to some roads.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare announced the exemption of 403 Hualien earthquake survivors from insurance premium fees for six months and plans on providing a subsidy of $200 per person from April to September 2024.

Additionally, survivors of earthquakes often deal with lasting trauma, and the need for mental health and psychosocial support services increases.

As summarized by Evidence Aid, the authors of a 2021 study that looked at post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among children and adolescents after earthquakes and floods suggested that rapid screening tests and continuous observation are needed for children and adolescents after disasters and that psychological support should be provided to them, especially girls.

Economic recovery and rebuilding

Analysis by experts says the economic effect of the earthquake will be minimal.

Hualien’s tourism industry is expected to lose as much as $165 million. Government subsidies are expected to help repair the city and revive tourism.

Various ministries also conducted an initial assessment of damages to understand the toll of the earthquake’s impact.

The Ministry of Education reported damages to 434 schools, totaling $14.66 million.

The Ministry of Agriculture estimated damages to be around $2.53 million, mostly coming from the fishing and livestock industry in Hualien County.

With damage to the earthquake-affected areas, ensuring survivors have access to safe shelter is critical in the immediate aftermath. The faster people can return home or find other permanent housing options, the more it will help accelerate their full recovery.

On May 1, Taiwan’s Tourism Administration and National Land Management Agency announced a short-term housing subsidies for survivors left homeless following the earthquake. Housing subsidies will go into effect for three months following a vetting process by the Hualien County government. More than 125 hotels and hostels were willing to provide about 1,200 rooms as short-term relief for the initiative.

Furthermore, given Taiwan’s vulnerability to earthquakes, demolition of buildings in precarious conditions will prevent the risk of future collapse. Authorities in Hualien County have already scheduled building demolitions following the collapse of buildings during the aftershocks.

CDP has a Global Recovery Fund that provides an opportunity for donors to meet the long-term recovery needs of Taiwan’s earthquake survivors.

Support recovery now

Contact CDP

Philanthropic contributions

If you have questions about donating to the CDP Global Recovery Fund, need help with your disaster-giving strategy or want to share how you’re responding to this disaster, please contact development.

(Photo: The Taiwan Ministry of National Defense conducts search and rescue missions after the earthquake, April 5, 2024. Credit: Ministry of National Defense via X)

Recovery updates

If you are a responding NGO, please send updates on how you are working on recovery from this disaster to Tanya Gulliver-Garcia.

We welcome the republication of our content. Please credit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Philanthropic and government support

Taiwan has a robust disaster preparedness and response infrastructure and process.

In response to the earthquake, the Ministry of Health and Welfare released over $1.5 million to assist in the recovery and reconstruction of the disaster area. The Ministry of Economic Affairs also offered loans totaling $61.35 million to support certain industries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan extended an emergency grant aid of $1 million through the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association. The grant was made to assist relief efforts and ensure the earliest possible recovery. Similarly, the Czech Republic ($150,000), Lithuania ($53,000), South Korea ($500,000) and Thailand ($31,000) extended earthquake relief for recovery and reconstruction efforts.

To assist with the ongoing search effort, Taiwan accepted assistance from Turkey, adding that it was the only foreign rescue team it had allowed to enter. The team of seven Turkish rescuers will also bring drone technology in light of the challenging terrain in earthquake-affected areas.

The Red Cross Society of Republic of China (Taiwan) mobilized in collaboration with the Hualien Fire Department to provide support to ongoing rescue operations. The organization has also reached out to various hospitals and plans on allocating funds to support 30 hospitalized individuals. The organization also supported households in need of essential supplies and tents from the April 23 aftershocks damaged houses in Shoufeng Township.

Manila Economic and Cultural Office also distributed humanitarian aid to overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan.

The Taiwan Foundation for Disaster Relief raised nearly $4.3 million and as April 28, halted all donations toward the earthquake. The money raised will be used toward disaster relief, shelter, recovery and reconstruction efforts.

More ways to help

As with most disasters, disaster experts recommend cash donations, which enable on-the-ground agencies to direct funds to the greatest area of need, support economic recovery and ensure donation management does not detract from disaster recovery needs.

CDP has also created a list of suggestions for funders to consider related to disaster giving. These include:

  • Take the long view: Even while focusing on immediate needs, remember that it will take some time for the full range of needs to emerge. Be patient in planning for disaster funding. Recovery will take a long time, and funding will be needed throughout.
  • Recognize there are places private philanthropy can help that government agencies might not: Private funders have opportunities to develop innovative solutions to help prevent or mitigate future disasters that the government cannot execute.
  • Prioritize investments in local organizations: Local leaders and organizations play a vital role in providing immediate relief and setting the course for long-term equitable recovery in communities after a disaster. However, these leaders and organizations are mostly under-resourced and underfunded. Grant to locally-led entities as much as possible.
  • All funders are disaster philanthropists: Even if your organization does not work in a particular geographic area or fund immediate relief efforts, you can look for ways to tie disaster funding into your existing mission. If you focus on education, health, children or vulnerable populations, disasters present prime opportunities for funding.
  • Ask the experts: If you are considering supporting an organization that is positioned to work in an affected area, do some research. CDP and InterAction can provide resources and guidance about organizations working in affected communities.

Fund resources

See them all

Destroyed building Haiti earthquake 2021


Striking without warning, earthquakes often are among the most devastating disasters. Caused by the movement of plates along fault lines on the earth’s surface, earthquakes often leave a monumental path of instant death and destruction.

Critical Infrastructure and Systems

Critical Infrastructure and Systems

Critical Infrastructure and Systems (CIS) are the structures people rely on to perform their everyday tasks. They are what keep people, goods and information moving around the world while also keeping people safe and healthy.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Water is one of the most necessary elements for life, yet according to the World Health Organization/UNICEF, 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water. In addition, 4.5 billion people lack safely-managed sanitation facilities. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) principles are of tremendous concern in everyday life, but can be heightened during an emergency or disaster.