Earthquake forces one million Chileans to evacuate

A 8.3-magnitude earthquake hits Chilean coast on Wednesday, forcing authorities to vacate residents following tsunami warnings

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

After an earthquake hit areas of central Chile

Homes destroyed by an enormous earthquake which measured 8.3 on Thursday in central Chile that killed 11 people and forced one million from their homes, sending large waves crash into coastal areas.

Earthquake was the strongest in the world so far this year and the biggest to hit Chile since 2010 eventhough some habitants said that the destruction could have been worse.

Waves rose to 4.5 meters (15 feet) and hit the coast in Coqiumbo, the northern port city and government announced an emergency in the area.

Government has given instructions to allow soldiers to patrol the streets to provide security and interfere with plunder.

Vessels were broken, littering the bay with rubble and large fishing boats had washed up on the streets.

"We lost it all. It was horrible," said 79-year-old Hilda Zambra, whose home in Tongoy, a beach town some 40 km (25 miles) south of Coquimbo, was destroyed by surging waters. She also added "I don't know how I got out of there, it was dark. I jumped into some stranger's pickup truck. We left with what we had on our backs."

According to the government data 610 people’s home were so damaged they were unable to comeback by late Thursday afternoon. 179 house were destroy, 87,600 stayed without electricity and 9,000 suffered from finding a clean water.

Following the earthquake, the government decided to evacuate people from coastal areas to prevent another disaster from happening, as the one in 2010, when authorities were slow to alert people of a tsunami and hundreds of people were killed.

"We want to thank people for their cooperation, which allowed for a death toll, while unfortunate, that was not very high considering the strength of the earthquake," President Michelle Bachelet told reporters.

Bachelet also said that her government had ‘’learned a series of lessons’’ from previous disasters and headed out to the damaged areas in the town of La Serena, near Coquimbo.

Furthermore, the quake was even felt in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is quite far away from its place of origin.

TRTWorld and agencies