Eartquake kills more than 70 in Chile

Eartquake kills more than 70 in Chile
# 27 February 2010 14:45 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. A massive earthquake on the coast of Chile has killed at least 76 people, flattening buildings and triggering a tsunami, timesonline.co.uk reported.
The 8.8-magnitude quake, the country’s largest in 25 years, shook the capital Santiago for a minute and half at 3:34am (0634 GMT) today.
A tsunami warning has been extended across all Pacific islands and the Pacific rim, including most of Central and South America and as far as Australia and Antarctica.
The wave has already caused serious damage to the sparsely populated Juan Fernandez islands, off the Santiago coast, local radio reported.
Deputy interior minister Patricio Rosende said at least 76 people died, while President Michelle Bachelet declared a “state of catastrophe” in the country.
The quake hit near the town of Maule, 200 miles southwest of Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles underground.
The epicentre was just 70 miles from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river.
In Santiago buildings collapsed and phone lines and electricity were brought down, but the full extent of the damage is still being determined.
Several big aftershocks later hit the south-central region, including ones measuring 6.9, 6.2 and 5.6.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for Chile and Peru, and a less-urgent tsunami watch for Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Antarctica.
Earthquakes are relatively common in Chile, which is part of the pacific “ring-of-fire” tectonic-plate boundary, and many buildings are built to withstand tremors.
The largest earthquake ever recorded struck the same region on May 22, 1960. The magnitude-9.5 quake killed 1,655 people and left two million homeless.