Between April 6 and April 8, nine earthquakes struck eastern Taiwan, with magnitudes varying from 3.2 to 4.5 on the Richter Scale, and on April 9, a magnitude 6 earthquake struck in the waters off Hualien.
On April 17, a magnitude 5 earthquake struck China’s Yunnan Province, while on the same day, a magnitude 6.2 quake occurred off the coast of Tokyo.
Two days later, a magnitude 7 earthquake hit the waters off Hokkaido in northern Japan, followed by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake south of Hokkaido in the waters off Honshu on April 21 and a magnitude 5 earthquake in the Yellow Sea.
In other regions, an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter Scale occurred in western Mexico on April 12, shaking the capital, Mexico City, and on April 22, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the southwest of the country.
On the same day, a magnitude 7.8 quake struck in the border area between southeastern Iran and Pakistan.
Data from the US Geological Survey show that in the period between 1970 and 1999, there were no earthquakes measuring 8.5 or higher on the Richter Scale, but there have been six quakes of this strength since 2004. Since 1900, there have been 17 earthquakes of magnitude 8.5 or higher, six of them in the eight years since 2004, offering clear evidence of the rising frequency and strength of earthquakes.
Data also show that between 1990 and 1999, more than 110,000 people died in earthquakes, compared with the nine-year span between 2000 and 2009, when the figure rose to 470,000. Adding the 340,000 lives claimed by quakes from 2010 to 2011, more than 800,000 people have died in earthquakes in the 21st century.
All these warnings must not be ignored.
It is time to discontinue the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
Lu I-ming is a former publisher and president of the Taiwan Shin Sheng Daily News.
Translated by Perry Svensson