Mark Linnhoefer – On Wednesday, Chile was hit by an earthquake of magnitude 8.3 – the strongest world-wide this year and the largest in Chile since 2010 – that killed 11 and forced over a million people to leave their homes.
The coastal quake spawned waves of about 15 feet in height, the worst hit the beach and port cities, where boats have been washed up in the streets. Other vessels crashed, cluttering the beaches and coats with debris. The port city of Coquimbo was amongst those that had it worst, and was declared an emergency zone by the government when a wave struck it on Wednesday. This move allowed for quicker aid to be sent to the city and also for military to patrol the streets, ensuring that no looting takes place.
Once the earthquake had hit, the government ordered an evacuation of all coastal areas, which saved lots of lives according to President Michelle Bachelet.
The tsunami warning for Coquimbo was lifted on Thursday, Chile is preparing for its national holiday today, but the people are now sifting through the debris of the 179 homes that were completely destroyed, while 610 people are now waiting for their homes to be repaired as they were still too damaged on Thursday afternoon for the people to return.
Asides from death toll and property damages, the earthquake has also possibly slowed down trade, as a large export port and three regular ports closed down on Thursday, with no statement as to their reopening having been published yet.