Taiwan has confirmed the first 7.7 magnitude earthquake that struck the country.
The 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit at 3:08 p.m. local time (5:08 a.m., EDT) Wednesday, causing damage to several buildings and killing at least 13 people.
“We don’t yet know what the exact cause of the earthquake was, but we do know it was a very powerful earthquake,” Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s prime minister, told reporters.
She added that her government was “sickened by the destruction.”
The quake hit in a region of Taiwan known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is home to about 80% of the world’s quakes.
The quake’s epicenter was about 60 kilometers (35 miles) east of Taipei.
Tsai said she did not know if the quake was caused by the country’s growing reliance on imported liquefied natural gas, which has grown rapidly in recent years.
It was not immediately clear if there was a tsunami warning in place.
“I want to assure you that we are not at risk of a tsunami,” Tsipras told reporters at a news conference.
“But the country is very vulnerable.
I am concerned about the damage.
The damage to our infrastructure is very serious.
The damage is going to be very significant.”
Tsipra also warned that a nuclear disaster was possible if the Pacific Rim nations of the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand were hit by a similar quake.
Tsipratos said that he would personally visit the damaged areas to “share the pain and to express our heartfelt gratitude to the people of Taiwan.”
The U.N. says it is “extremely concerned” by the quake, which it called a “severe earthquake.”
The earthquake’s magnitude is equivalent to a 7.2 earthquake.
Tsapras is a former president who has been in power for 12 years.
Ts’ai said Ts’a will stay in office until at least 2033.
She also called on China and Russia to help Taiwan rebuild its infrastructure and to “continue the negotiations with us on how to move forward.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.