Earthquake in Chile
Thursday, 17 September 2015
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17 September 2015
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Description of the event
A powerful 8.3 magnitude earthquake struck central Chile at 21:54 UTC (19:54 local time) on 16 September, and also caused a tsunami which affected parts of the coast.
More than a million people were forced to evacuate by the disaster, and eleven people were reported killed.
The epicentre of the earthquake was just off the coast of the Coquimbo Province and lasted for approximately three minutes. Dozens of aftershocks followed, as well as a tsunami which brought waves recorded as high as 4.7m to the coastal areas closest to the epicentre. It is reportedly the most powerful earthquake worldwide this year.
Despite the power of this earthquake - the sixth most powerful in Chile's records - there was only a minimal loss of life. Chile has experienced several earthquakes in recent years, and is one of the most prone locations for earthquakes in the world, and so the local infrastructure is well-prepared for such events. A state of emergency in Coquimbo was declared shortly after the earthquake, and tsunami warnings issued. People also responded quickly in the emergency, and were soon evacuated from the areas at risk in Coquimbo and Valparaiso.
The earthquake and tsunami still caused damage, however. Hundreds of homes were damaged, and 90,000 left without power and many lost access to drinking water.
The tsunami alerts were lowered on 17 September, with no more expected to impact the coast. Recovery efforts have begun and the delivery of aid to Coquimbo is in process.