Magnitude 7.7 earthquake strikes Antofagasta, Chile

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Authorities in Chile say at least two people have been killed and more than 100 injured after a powerful earthquake struck in the north, sending terrified residents into the streets and cutting power to some of the country's copper mines. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 15:40:53 UTC.

Officials said two women were killed Wednesday when their houses in the town of Tocopilla collapsed during the 7.7 magnitude earthquake. They also said another person may have died in a tunnel collapse there, which has trapped some 50 workers.

Government spokesperson Ricardo Lagos said "They will be evacuated by the Navy via the ocean. As far as we know there are no injured or dead [among the workers]."

The USGS said the quake was centered west of the town of Calama. It was felt as far away as the Chilean capital, Santiago, and neighboring Peru and Bolivia.

Television images showed cars crushed under the concrete awning of a hotel in Antofagasta, 170 kilometers south of the epicenter.

The police chief of Arequipa, Hernan Tamayo said, "People ran out into the streets because of how prolonged the quake was. There was a lot of alarm but no material or human damage."

The quake was followed by six aftershocks with magnitudes of up to 5.7. Additionally, the quake triggered a tsunami warning which was later lifted.

In Tocopilla, 115 people were injured. Mayor Luis Moyano said about 1,200 houses had been flattened. "Today, the people of Tocopilla are going to have to sleep in the streets," he said in a radio address.

In total, 3,000 homes have been destroyed in Chile, according to the Housing Minister. The government has airlifted hundreds of portable homes to provide shelter.

In August, an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck Peru, killing about 540 people and injuring more than 1,000 others. The southern port city of Pisco was one of the areas devastated by the powerful quake, which lasted two minutes.



This article is based on Powerful Earthquake Strikes Northern Chile by VOA News which has a copyright policy compatible with our CC-BY 2.5. Specifically "Copyright status of work by the U.S. government"


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