A huge earthquake has shaken Chile, killing more
than 746 people, causing buildings to collapse, starting fires and
unleashing a tsunami across the Pacific. With a magnitude of 8.8, it
opened cracks in the earth, flipped cars and devastated the city of
Concepcion, 70 miles from the epicentre.
The Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet,
declared a "state of catastrophe" as emergency teams scrambled over
rubble looking for survivors. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre
issued an alert for countries in Latin America as well as Japan,
Russia, the Philippines, Indonesia and French Polynesia. A massive
wave hit Robinson Crusoe island, the largest of the Juan Fernandez
archipelago, where at least three people were killed. Residents were
evacuated from the coastal areas of Easter Island.
Collapsed roads and bridges complicated travel across the country.
Electricity, water and phone lines were cut to many areas, so there
was little word of casualties or damage from more remote areas.
shook the country's coastline. There were 29 of magnitude 5 or
greater, and one reaching 6.9, the US Geological Survey reported.
The earthquake was
so devastating that many buildings have collapsed like a game of
cards. Many buildings are in complete shambles, and huge parts of
the buildings have fallen onto the street, and are making the relief
work all the more difficult. Trees and power lines have also been
knocked down, and the situation is totally chaotic all over the
earthquake ravaged region.
Santiago airport was also damaged.
disaster was the strongest earthquake to hit Chile in 50 years and
one of the strongest ever measured.