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Σάββατο, 27 Φεβρουαρίου 2010

BBC NEWS- Massive earthquake strikes Chile

The aftermath of the earthquake

A massive earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 has struck central Chile, the country's largest in 25 years.

The quake struck at 0634 GMT about 91km (56 miles) north-east of the city of Concepcion and 317km south-west of the capital, Santiago.

Chilean television is reporting 16 deaths so far. Outgoing President Michelle Bachelet called for calm as she went into an emergency meeting.

The US issued an initial tsunami warning for Chile, Peru and Ecuador.

That was later extended to Colombia, Antarctica and Central America. Japan's meteorological agency warned of a potential tsunami across large areas of the Pacific.

Aftershocks

President Bachelet called on people to remain calm and contact the authorities if they needed help.

Map

She said: "The country has just experienced an enormous earthquake... we are in the process of finding out about the effects of the quake across the region, the state of the roads and hospitals, the damage to buildings and of course the number of those killed and injured."

Ms Bachelet said there were areas of the country where communications were down and teams were working to restore them.

Many of Chile's news websites and radio stations were not accessible.

Buildings in Santiago were reported to have shaken for between 10 and 30 seconds, with the loss of electricity and communications.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake struck at a depth of about 35km.

POWERFUL EARTHQUAKES
Haiti, 12 Jan 2010: About 230,000 people die after shallow 7.0 magnitude quake
Sumatra, Indonesia, 26 Dec 2004: 9.2 magnitude. Triggers Asian tsunami that kills nearly 250,000 people
Alaska, US, 28 March 1964: 9.2 magnitude; 128 people killed. Anchorage badly damaged
Chile, south of Concepcion, 22 May 1960: 9.5 magnitude. About 1,655 deaths. Tsunami hits Hawaii and Japan
Kamchatka, NE Russia, 4 Nov 1952: 9.0 magnitude

It recorded a 6.2 magnitude aftershock in the same area soon after at 0652 GMT and another of 5.5 magnitude about 84km from Santiago at 0819 GMT.

The USGS said tsunami effects had been observed at Valparaiso, west of Santiago, with a wave height of 1.69m above normal sea level.

Reuters news agency later quoted the Chilean navy as saying the tsunami warning for southern Chile had been lifted.

One journalist speaking to Chilean national television from the city of Temuco, 600km south of Santiago, said many people there had left their homes, determined to spend the rest of the night outside. Some people on the streets were in tears.

Mark Winstanley, who contacted the BBC from Vina del Mar, 100km north-west of Santiago, said buildings had shaken and electricity and phone connections were cut but he could see no structural damage yet.

A university professor in Santiago, Cristian Bonacic, said that this was a massive quake but that the cities seemed to have resisted well. Internet communications were working but not mobile phones.

Chile suffered the biggest earthquake of the 20th century when a 9.5 magnitude quake struck the city of Valdivia in 1960, killing 1,655 people.


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