At least 47 dead, many injured after massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile (Update)

February 27th, 2010 - 5:04 pm ICT by BNO News  

SANTIAGO, CHILE (BNO NEWS) — A massive earthquake struck near Concepcion, Chile on Saturday, seismologists said, causing at least 47 deaths, according to Chilean president Michelle Bachelet.

The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 8.8, was centered about 60 miles northwest of Chillan and 200 miles southwest of Santiago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck at a depth of 21.7 miles at 03.34 a.m. local time.

The capital, Santiago, was without power and phone lines after the earthquake. Reports say there are several buildings damaged in Santiago and many damage near the epicentre.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said in a second report that 47 people were dead after the earthquake. Chilean state TV TVN reported many injured. Bachelet said the government is working and trying to restore the communications.

There were reports of shaking in Argentina, Bolivia and southern Peru.

A tsunami warning is in effect for Chile, Peru and Ecuador, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. A tsunami watch is in effect for Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala in Latin America and for French Polynesia and Pitcairn Islan in the southern Pacific Ocean.

A tsunami was confirmed in Chile, according to President Bachelet. A town near the epicenter was damaged by a tidal wave.

A tsunami may have been generated that could potentially impact the U.S. west coast, British Columbia, and Alaska, the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said in an urgent bulletin. The center added that is investigating the event to determine the level of danger.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said Tokyo is evaluating also the tsunami risk.

The 2010 Chile earthquake is the second largest quake in the past 20 years, behind the 2004 Indian Ocean 9.1-magnitude quake.

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