SANTIAGO: At least eleven people have been killed and nine more injured in Chile after an earthquake measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale struck Wednesday night, the country’s National Office of Emergencies confirmed Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Interior Minister of Chile Jorge Burgos put the death toll at eight, plus one person missing, but this has since been updated.
The earthquake struck at 19:54:33 local time, or 22:54:33 UTC, on Sept. 16, with the epicenter out at sea, 44 miles or 70.8 kilometers northwest of the town of Illapel and 153 miles away from Santiago, the capital of Chile.
The powerful quake, which was followed by a series of aftershocks that reached up to 7 on the Richter scale, was felt throughout the nation as well as in Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina. It triggered a low-intensity tsunami that affected the coastal area but did not cause any injuries.
According to Burgos, nationwide, the powerful quake left 3,000 houses damaged. And more than 1 million people were evacuated from their homes due to the tsunami alert that happened after the quake.
“A total of 409 persons are in shelters in the coastal Coquimbo region. The port of Coquimbo suffered serious damage and is currently unusable. Some boats are stranded in the wetlands and others are stuck inland,” said Burgos, who inspected to the affected region on Thursday morning, in a preliminary damage report.
“Chileans are used to these misadventures handed to us by nature. We came through it strongly. We are convinced that this is an opportunity to show the temperament and heart of the Chilean people,” added the minister.