The Tsunami warning for Chile, Peru, and Ecuador following the 8.2 earthquake that rattled the northern city of Iquique has been lifted.
At least six people were killed when buildings collapsed on them or they suffered from heart attacks during the massive quake late Tuesday evening local time.
The Chilean government has declared Tarapaca, Arica, and Parinacota disaster areas and 100 riot police has been deployed to maintain order and prevent looting, joining some 300 already at the scene.
Photos of damage and thousands of people flocking to the streets after the earthquake hit Chile’s northern coast continue to be posted to social media sites.
While warning sirens flared, frightened citizens were seen running away from possible falling buildings as, at least five strong aftershocks of 5.0 magnitude or higher, continued to rattle the area.
RAW VIDEO: Magnitude-8.2 earthquake sends people scrambling in northern Chile: http://t.co/xljz2ZhQm8
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 2, 2014
Chile earthquake: 6 dead, almost a million evacuated pic.twitter.com/rEvrFPadrT
— Media Center (@infobencana) April 2, 2014
— Social Media Mgmt (@ManageSM) April 2, 2014
Chile is located in what seismologists know as the “Ring of Fire” — a string of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity around the edges of the Pacific Ocean — and suffers from earthquakes frequently.
Even though no reports of major damage has surfaced, there is evidence of destroyed buildings and news agencies reported landslides had disrupted traffic in the areas affected by the earthquake in Chile.
There were also reports of fires started afterwards, however these were being controlled by local firefighters.
Chile’s President, Michelle Bachelet, told residents in the three disaster zones “to keep calm and follow instructions from the authorities,” she added the country “faced the emergency well,” and that “the government will work for as long as necessary to confront this emergency.”
Following the lifting of the Tsunami warnings by Chile’s Navy, thousands of residents were returning to their homes to evaluate any damage suffered in the earthquake.
About 300 inmates escaped from a prison during the earthquake chaos, forcing authorities to close the border between Chile and Peru to prevent them from fleeing the country.
Bachelet is attempting to redeem herself from the disastrous handling of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Chile’s central region in 2010, when the Tsunami warnings were cancelled prematurely and 500 — who had returned to their homes following government orders — were killed by the giant waves that destroyed many coastal communities.
[Image via Bing and Twitter]