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Major earthquake, magnitude 8.3, hits Chile

Chile Earthquake Kills At Least 8

A major earthquake, at the magnitude of 8.3, struck Chile forcing one million residents out of their homes and leaving at least 8 people killed.

Earthquake hits the northern coast of Chile causing building to shake and coastal town to flood.

Residents were ordered to evacuate the coastal line due to strong aftershocks, including one with the magnitude of 7.0.

A series of waves from the quake was felt as far as Buenos Aires in Argentina. The port city of Coquimbo was hit by waves of up to 15ft (4.5 metres).

Mayor Cristian Galleguillos said: “We’re going through a really grave situation with the tsunami.

“We have residential neighbourhoods that have flooded … The ocean has reached the downtown area.”

Most of the damage was in coastal areas, where houses and fishing boats were hit by high waves.

There was also flooding, damaged buildings and power cuts. Many residents had packed their cars and driven inland to seek higher ground.

“People started screaming that everything was shaking,” said Jorge Medina, a Santiago resident.

In the inland city of Illapel, around 175 miles from Santiago, a woman was reportedly killed by a collapsing wall and the town’s electricity supply was disrupted, although residents said most of the buildings remained standing.

“We are very scared. Our city panicked,” said the city’s mayor Denis Cortes.

Another person died from a heart attack in Santiago, Chilean media said.

The earthquake is the first major quake to strike Chile since hundreds died following an 8.8-magnitude tremor in 2010.

“Once again we must confront a powerful blow from nature,” Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet said while addressing the nation.

Chile is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries.

The Nazca tectonic plate which lies off the coast plunges beneath the South American plate, causing major seismic activity.

The strongest earthquake ever recorded occurred in Chile – a 9.5-magnitude tremor in 1960 that killed more than 5,000 people.

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