The strongest earthquake to hit Taiwan in 25 years has caused numerous building collapses and extensive power disruptions on the island.

At least seven people have been confirmed dead, with 77 trapped in tunnels and collapsed buildings, while over 700 are injured, according to authorities.

The quake which struck on Wednesday morning had a 7.2 magnitude according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration (CWA).

CWA said the quake was the result of movement in the Philippine Sea plate and that the epicentre was extremely shallow and close to land.

The agency said the quake was likely felt strong in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, because of the “basin effect” which occurs when earthquake reverberations become trapped in soft ground.

Taiwan lies along the Pacific ring of fire, a line of seismic faults where most of the world’s earthquakes occur.

CWA added that aftershocks between magnitudes 6.5 and 7 may occur over the next four days.

Images and videos of the quake’s aftermath showed buildings tilted at precarious angles while rescuers used ladders to help trapped people out of windows.

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Some subway systems were reportedly forced open but closed briefly, while over 87,000 households lost power, according to the island’s electricity supplier.

The island’s worst quake before now struck in 1999, with a magnitude of 7.7, causing 2,400 deaths, injuring around 100,000, and destroying thousands of buildings.