An 8.3 magnitude earthquake hit Chile forcing one million people to immediately leave their homes. Tsunami alerts were issued after the earthquake hit the coast of Chile.
— GMA News (@gmanews) September 17, 2015
— People magazine (@people) September 17, 2015
The quake lasted three minutes, claimed 11 lives, and caused damages worth billions on Thursday. The coastal town of Coquimbo was issued a tsunami alert after waves as high as 4.7m or 15 ft hit the town’s shore. Coquimbo looked like a ghost town after residents fled their homes. What was left were crumbled buildings and houses, damaged furniture washed away by the current, overturned cars, and mud.
— The Straits Times (@STcom) September 18, 2015
— AccuWeather.com (@breakingweather) September 17, 2015
It was reported that there have been dozens of aftershocks. In Illapel, a town near the epicenter, 1,800 people were left without clean water to drink and power was cut off.
The earthquake that hit Chile on Wednesday was said to be five times stronger than the one that destroyed Nepal in April of this year. However, despite the powerful tremor, Chile has fewer casualties and damages compared to Nepal.
It could be attributed to the fact that Chile is more prepared now. In 2010 an 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Chile and killed 500 people and wiped out 220,000 homes. The earthquake gave off so much energy, it shortened the Earth’s day by a fraction of a second by changing the planet’s rate of rotation.
This year’s quake is the third massive quake that has struck the country in five years, records say.
Chile invested millions to build infrastructure that is able to withstand massive earthquakes, upgraded seismic sensors and further improved their communications systems since the country is one of the most seismically active spots on earth.
It runs along the two tectonic plates, Nazca and South American plates that push each other at a rate of 80 mm each year.
Chileans were more prepared this year as a result of frequent earthquake drills. They have also come up with simple solutions to protect themselves during a quake.
President Michelle Bachelet and the government’s emergency team made sure to issue tsunami warnings quickly after the earthquake.
According to the residents, they received an advisory on their mobile phones ordering them to leave their homes shortly after the quake struck Chile.
On the other side of the globe, Japan has issued a tsunami alert to the people at 3 a.m., Friday (local time) after the 8.3 magnitude earthquake in Chile. The government released a preemptive evacuation order to coastal towns. The Japan Meteorological Agency warned that waves as high as one meter will hit the shores.
Tsunami waves of 0.4 meter were seen at Kujiko in Iwate Prefecture and at Erimo on Hokkkaido’s northern island, 7:30 in the morning, Friday.
The tsunami waves that hit Chile have been moving towards the Pacific Ocean also affecting islands in the South Pacific.
[Image via alertacastrofe.com]