Powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake off Chile kills at least 5, forces evacuations
A powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck in the Pacific off Chile’s northern region on Tuesday, killing at least five people, causing landslides and setting off a small tsunami, leading authorities to order an evacuation.
Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo attributed the five deaths to heart attacks or being crushed. In the city of Arica, the mayor reported some minor injuries and said some homes made of adobe were destroyed.
About 300 inmates escaped from a women’s prison in the city of Iquique, and officials said Chile’s military was sending a planeload of special forces to guard against looting.
The quake shook modern buildings in nearby Peru and in Bolivia’s high altitude capital of La Paz.
“We have asked citizens to evacuate the entire coast … there is no serious damage to houses … there have been no people hurt,” said home office minister Mahmud Aleuy, Reuters reported.
The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the quake at 8.0, but later upgraded the magnitude. It said the quake struck 61 miles northwest of the Chilean city of Iquique at 8:46 p.m., hitting a region that has been rocked by numerous quakes over the past two weeks.
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