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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 20 May, 2019
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Five dead and more than 1 million evacuated from homes in Chile earthquake

Buildings were reported to have swayed as far away as Buenos Aires.

First published 09.10am 

AT LEAST FIVE people have been killed after a magnitude-8.3 earthquake shook the Chilean capital of Santiago last night.

More than one million people have been evacuated and there are warnings that tsunami waves could reach as far as Japan.

There are reports that buildings swayed as far away as Buenos Aires.

It was the sixth biggest most powerful quake in the history of quake-prone Chileand the strongest anywhere in the world this year, Deputy Interior Minister Mahmoud Aleuy said.

Around 245,000 families have been left without power this morning.

Source: RT/YouTube

Chilean authorities issued a tsunami alert for the country’s entire coast, and U.S. officials posted an alert for Hawaii.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the quake at a preliminary magnitude of 7.9 but quickly revised the reading upward to 8.3.
U.S. officials said the quake struck just offshore in the Pacific at 7:54 pm local time (11.54 pm Irish time) and was centred about 141 miles (228 km) north-northwest of Santiago.

It said the quake was 4.8 miles (5 km) below the surface.

chilemap Source: USGS

Among the dead were a woman in Illapel, close to the epicenter, and an 86-year-old man in Santiago, where there were scenes of pandemonium as thousands fled swaying buildings.

Hardest-hit Illapel, a coastal city of 30,000, saw its electricity fail and several homes were damaged.

In coastal La Serena, in the north of Chile, “people were running in all directions,” said resident Gloria Navarro.

A magnitude-8.8 quake and ensuing tsunami in central Chile in 2010 killed more than 500 people, destroyed 220,000 homes, and washed away docks, riverfronts and seaside resorts.

That quake released so much energy, it actually it shortened the Earth’s day by a fraction of a second by changing the planet’s rotation.

Chile is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries because just off the coast, the Nazca tectonic plate plunges beneath the South American plate, pushing the towering Andes cordillera to ever-higher altitudes.

The strongest earthquake ever recorded on Earth happened in Chile — a magnitude-9.5 tremor in 1960 that killed more than 5,000 people.

Updated 01.00 

Contains reporting by the Associated Press and AFP 

Read: Nepal quake death toll surges over 3,000>

Read: 137 stranded on mountain top after earthquake>

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Dan MacGuill

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