Chile quake triggers mass evacuation, tsunami alert

People fled into the streets as the quake caused buildings to sway

People fled into the streets as the quake caused buildings to sway

ONE million people had to leave their homes in Chile after a powerful quake hit the country’s central region.

At least 10 people died when the 8.3-magnitude quake hit at at 19:54 local time (22:54 GMT).

Residents of Illapel, near the quake’s epicentre, fled into the streets in terror as their homes began to sway.

In the coastal town of Coquimbo, waves of 4.7m (15ft) hit the shore. A tsunami alert was issued for the entire Chilean coast but has since been lifted.

Tsunami waves also hit the coast further north and south of the quake’s epicentre, with waves half a metre higher than usual as far north as La Punta.

The quake lasted for more than three minutes and there have been dozens of aftershocks. Gloria Navarro, who lives in the coastal town of La Serena, said people were “running in all directions”.

At the scene, a journalist said I’m on the coast about 130km (80 miles) south from the worst affected area of Coquimbo. Our house is on top of a cliff and made of wood. It was shaking and shuddering.

“At first I thought it was just a tremor but it was really strong and went on for around three minutes. It was much stronger than any tremors I had ever felt before.”

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