Taipei (Taiwan) - Two powerful earthquakes are to blame for ruptures of undersea cables off the coast of Taiwan, causing disrupted Internet access for much of East Asia, with online service being unavailable for up to three weeks in the hardest hit areas.
Near the Southwest city of Pingtung, Taiwan, an earthquake was recorded with a locally recorded magnitude of 6.7 at 8:26 pm local time (7:26 am EST) on Tuesday. The US Geological Survey (USGS) captured a magnitude of 7.1. Just eight minutes later, another quake hit, tipping the Richter scale at 6.4, according to the Taiwan weather bureau, while the USGS recorded the second hit as 7.0. At least two deaths were attributed to the two earthquakes.
"All of the ISPs in Singapore are affected. Everybody's doing their best to migrate to alternate routes or to fix the affected routes," said Michael Sim, spokesman for Asian cable/Internet provider Starhub Internet Pte.
NTT Communications reported at least 84 lines going out of service as a result of the quake, literally knocking out international toll-free calling and critically hindering conventional overseas calling.
As one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in many years, the damage will take weeks to repair, including affected areas of China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.