8.2 earthquake in Chile kills at least six; sparks tsunami scare in Costa Rica

April 2nd, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Tsunami warnings have been lifted for Chile’s coastline, hours after a strong 8.2-magnitude earthquake yesterday evening killed at least six people in Chile and set off a small tsunami that prompted evacuations along the country’s Pacific coast.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued tsunami alerts for Costa Rica, as well as Panama and parts of Nicaragua shortly after the quake.  The alerts where lifted several hours later.

 

The earthquake late Tuesday was centered about 100 kilometers off Chile’s northwestern coast.  It caused landslides that blocked highways and widespread power outages.

President Michelle Bachelet has declared a state of emergency in the region.  In a late-night address, she urged citizens to stay calm.

“Appropriate measures have been taken to protect their lives and their belongings.  And the government will continue to work all the time that is necessary to confront this emergency and protect our citizens,” she said.

Waves measuring about two meters hit the Chilean coast in the hours following the quake.  No damage from the waves has been reported.

At least six people were reported dead after being crushed by collapsing walls or experiencing heart attacks.

Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo said about 300 inmates escaped a woman’s prison in Iquique.  He said troops have been deployed to prevent looting and round up the escapees.

Chile is one of the world’s most earthquake prone countries.  In 2010, a 8.8-magnitude quake rocked central Chile, killing more than 500 people and destroying 220,000 homes.

The region hit by Tuesday’s quake had also experienced several smaller temblors in recent days, including a 6.0-magnitude earthquake on Sunday.

 

VOA contributed to this report.

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