A quake of magnitude 8.2 on the Richter scale has hit the north regions of Chile at 23:46 GMT. The quake was so powerful that a tsunami alert has been triggered. Waves reaching up to 2.1 height have crashed into some regions of Chile, causing power cuts and landslides. Fires have also occurred as a result. Uptil now, 5 people have met with death already; some crushed in between falling walls, and others due to heart attacks. Many others have been wounded.
Picture from abcnews.go.com
Thousands of people have been evacuated from their home towns; in those areas which are more prone to be affected. It has been reported that many houses have been destroyed as well. The effect of the quake was also felt in Peru and Bolivia; high buildings shook with the impact of the quake. While the people have been in a state of utter panic, some others have exploited the situation to their own advantage. Female inmates of a prison in Iquique, a port city found in Northern Chile, have viewed the calamity as a door to freedom: 300 of them managed to escape. Precautionary measures have been taken to guard against thieves and looters who also seize panic situations as opportunities to commit crimes.
The countries near Chile, like Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Panama have been in a state of alert as well, in case the quake causes tsunamis. However, Chile and Peru would be the most vulnerable if a tsunami were to hit Latin America.
People evacuating their home towns; picture courtesy www.bbc.com
People hurrying to seek refuge in safer regions; www.bbc.com