Strong Chile earthquake sets off tsunami waves
17 September 2015
From the section Latin America & Caribbean
A powerful earthquake has hit central Chile, causing buildings to sway in the capital Santiago, officials say. The 8.3-magnitude tremor was centred off the coast, about 144 miles (232km) north-west of the capital. Five people are now known to have died, and one million residents have been evacuated from coastal areas. There were reports of panic in some cities.The earthquake produced waves of up to 4.5m (15ft) along the coast in the region of Coquimbo.The tremor struck at 19:54 local time (22:54 GMT), about 55km west of the city of Illapel, the US Geological Survey said.
Officials said it was at the depth of about 10km (six miles).
Some Santiago residents ran out of their buildings fearing new tremors
In Valparaiso, crowds gathered on high ground amid fears a tsunami may hit the port city
Some buildings were reportedly damaged, and debris was seen strewn on the streets
The US Geological Survey initially reported the tremor as magnitude 7.9, but then quickly revised the reading to 8.3.Several strong aftershocks were reported just minutes later. Addressing the nation live on TV, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet confirmed that two women were killed after rubble fell down on them and a man died of a heart attack.Ms Bachelet said she would travel to the affected areas later on Thursday.The authorities later raised the confirmed death toll to five, saying that one person was missing.Some homes were reportedly damaged in the city of Illapel. “Tsunami waves reaching more than three metres above the tide level are possible along some coasts of Chile,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned earlier.The earthquake struck as thousands of Chileans have been travelling to the coast ahead of a week of celebrations of the national holidays, or Fiestas Patrias.Tsunami alerts were also issued for Peru, Hawaii, parts of California and as far away as New Zealand.New Zealand authorities warned of unusually strong currents and unpredictable water flows, reported local media. At least one school has evacuated.
The quake was also strongly felt in some Argentine provinces like Mendoza and in the capital Buenos Aires several buildings were evacuated, the BBC’s Ignacio de los Reyes reports.Chile is one of the most seismically active locations on …Read More