A large earthquake has struck off the coast near Santiago, killing at least five people. Residents of Chile, Peru, and Hawaii have been advised that the quake could trigger a tsunami.
A 8.3-magnitude earthquake rocked the Chilean capital of Santiago on Wednesday, causing buildings to shake and people to seek refuge off the streets. There were no immediate reports of severe damage, but at least five people were killed and 10 injured in the quake which was felt as far away as Buenos Aires.
There were scenes of pandemonium in the city as thousands tried to flee swaying buildings.The government issued a tsunami warning for the country’s entire coast.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said three people had been killed, and that she would travel to the affected areas on Thursday.
“Once again, we have to deal with a tough blow from nature,” Bachelet said in a televised address, adding that people who have been evacuated should not yet return to their homes.
The US Geological Survey issued a similar warning for residents of Hawaii and parts of California. Authorities also urged caution for those near the coast in Peru. Coastal towns were immediately evacuated as a precaution.
The Chilean navy reported waves of up to 4.5 meters (15 feet) following the earthquake.
Chile’s location on the geological “Ring of Fire” means it often sees large, dangerous earthquakes. In 2010, a magnitude 8.8 quake killed 500 people and destroyed 220,000 homes. Indeed, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded, a staggering magnitude 9.5, occurred in Chile in 1960, claiming thousands of lives and causing what would today be billions of dollars in damage, as well as a tsunami that reached Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Australia.