Aftershocks hit Chile after earthquake

Strong aftershocks rippled through Chile after a magnitude 8.3 earthquake that killed at least eight people and slammed powerful waves into coastal towns, forcing more than 1m people from their homes.

After the powerful quake hit on Wednesday evening, the government ordered evacuations from coastal areas to avoid a repeat of a quake disaster in 2010 when authorities were slow to warn of a tsunami that killed hundreds.

As the risk subsided, the government lifted its tsunami warning.

The quake and heavy waves afterward caused flooding in coastal towns, damaged buildings and knocked out power in the worst hit areas of central Chile and shook buildings in the capital Santiago about 280km to the south. The quake was felt as far away as Buenos Aires in Argentina.

President Michelle Bachelet said she planned to travel to the areas worst affected by the quake, the biggest to hit the country since 2010.

“Once again we’re having to deal with another harsh blow from nature,” Bachelet said in a televised statement.

Chile is the world’s top copper producer and operations were suspended at two big copper mines.

Copper prices on the London Metal Exchange rose to two-month highs in early Asian trading on worries about supply disruptions.

“It’s been awful. We ran out of the house with our grandchildren and now we are on a hill hoping it will be over soon,” said Maria Angelica Leiva from the coastal town of Navidad.

“It is all very dark, and we just hope the sea hasn’t reached our house.”


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