Strong aftershocks rippled through Chile after an 8.3-magnitude earthquake – the biggest in the world this year – killed at least 10 people and slammed powerful waves into coastal towns, forcing more than a million people from their homes. Tens of thousands were left to sleep in the open as the quake, which shook the Earth so strongly that rumbles were felt across South America, flattened their homes. Amid tsunami warnings that have since been lifted, an estimated one million people were forced to evacuate coastal regions.
Chilean officials say it is the sixth most powerful quake to hit the country, and seismologists have reported dozens of aftershocks.
Referring to past earthquakes, Bachelet said in a televised statement, “Once again we’re having to deal with another harsh blow from nature”.
Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has said it is ready to help Chile deal with the aftermath of the powerful earthquake that hit the country on Wednesday.
President Michelle Bachelet urged people who had been evacuated to stay on high ground until authorities could evaluate the situation. “Ministers came, looked and said a few words but nothing more”.
A Tsunami Advisory for Hawaii was canceled Thursday after officials said wave levels dropped enough that conditions would not be a threat to the state.
Tsunami waves struck near the tourist city of Valparaiso, where sirens sounded and people scrambled up hillsides to watch the ocean from a safe distance. The Pacific Typhoon Warning Center has issued a tsunami advisory for Hawaii, but a major tsunami is not expected, according to reports.
The tremor was clearly felt as far as Buenos Aires, where panicked residents were sent running out of apartment blocks. No injuries were reported outside of Chile.
The strongest quake hit this area back in 1960. “We are just going to have to start cleaning up”, explained one elderly resident. “It was more than a minute”. Illapel mayor Denis Cortes told a local television station that a woman had been killed in the city but declined to give any details.
The City of Portland is keeping close tabs on what unfolds in the aftermath of the quake in Chile.