Red Cross activates alert after 8.2 Earthquake in Chile

Published: 2 April 2014 6:33 CET

On the night of Tuesday, April 1 a strong earthquake of magnitude 8.2 occurred 79 kilometers from the city of Iquique, Chile, at a depth of 10 kilometers. About 30 aftershocks have been registered by the USGS system, some of them higher than 5.0 degrees.

The National Emergency Office of the Ministry of Interior (ONEMI) coordinated the precautionary evacuation of the coastal regions of Arica, Painacota and Tarapaca, due to a tsunami warning. Which later spread to the rest of the coast, and nearby countries.  In a quick response, around 900,000 people were evacuated from the coast, including 11 hospitals.

The particular geographic distribution of the zone and the isolation of some structures limit the quick reception of official data regarding damage to people, infrastructure and basic services.

At the moment six people have been confirmed dead according to authorities, due to heart attacks and collapsed walls.

Up until this moment there are no reports of major infrastructure collapse, however the collapse of adobe-made homes in Arica has been confirmed. The regions of Iquique and Arica are still experiencing power failure and telecommunication interruptions.

The Chilean Red Cross immediately activated its Emergency Operations Centre, and has been in constant communications with its branches in the northern region of Chile. Branches have reported that volunteers have assisted local authorities carrying out evacuations in the regions of Arica, Parinacota, Taparaca and Antofagasta. National Intervention Team members have been activated, and eight members specialized in psychosocial support are assisting. As of the moment a total of 55 volunteers and 12 staff members of the Chilean Red Cross are involved in the operation.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies (IFRC) is currently in contact with the Chilean Red Cross and continues to monitor the situation as people return to their homes and damages and immediate needs are assed. The IFRC’s Pan American Disaster Response Unit, will continue to monitor developments in Chile and will issue further information regarding Red Cross response as it develops.


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