Two people have been reported dead after a strong 8.3-magnitude earthquake struck the centre of Chile, triggering a tsunami alert, sparking panic and shaking buildings in the capital Santiago.
The earthquake had a shallow depth of 11km and hit at 7.54pm (22:54 GMT), with the epicenter located about 500 km north of the capital Santiago, seismologists at the University of Chile said.
The US Geological Survey reported the quake as having a magnitude of 8.3.
Several strong aftershocks hit within minutes as tsunami alarms sounded in the nearby port of Valparaiso.
Authorities said some adobe houses collapsed in the inland city of Illapel, located about 280km north of Santiago.
Denis Cortes, Illapel’s mayor, told a local television station that a woman had been killed in the city but declined to give any details.
Electricity was knocked out, leaving the city in darkness. “We are very scared. Our city panicked,” Cortes said.
Chilen officials reported the death of a second person, a man of 86, but did not say where he had died.
The country’s state copper miner Codelco said it was evacuating its workers at its Ventanas division.
Waves triggered by the earthquake have begun hitting the country’s coastline, the ONEMI emergency service said.
Tsunami waves of up to three metres are possible along the coast of French Polynesia, the Pacific Tsunami Centre (PTWC) in Hawaii said.
The PTWC also issued an alert for tsunami waves of between 0.3 to 1 metre for Japan, Antarctica, and most of the South Pacific, including New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.
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