Apr.3 - A powerful new 7.6-magnitude earthquake has struck off northern Chile, prompting tsunami alerts and evacuations along the coast and in neighboring Peru. Sarah Toms reports.
The streets are quiet in Arica and Iquique, in northern Chile. After mass evacuations, few people were left here to be rattled by another powerful earthquake, this one with a magnitude of 7.6. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) RICARDO TORO, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY OFFICE OF THE INTERIOR MINISTRY, SAYING: "Due to this situation, ONEMI established at 11:45 p.m. (02:45 GMT) a preventative evacuation of the regions of Arica and Parinacota, Tarapaca and Antofagasta. At 12:07 a.m. (Thursday) the Hydrolic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy established a tsunami alert for the coast of Chile. The entire coastal border must be evacuated." This latest quake comes just over 24 hours after Tuesday's massive quake killed six people. More than 2,600 homes were damaged and fishing boats along the northern coast were smashed. Here a church and steeple have been devastated...but across the country most infrastructure held up. SOUNDBITE (SPANISH) HUARA RESIDENT INSIDE HER DAMAGED HOME, SAYING: "We are well. We are alive. We have our health. My sons and daughter are also well." President Michelle Bachelet had been visiting the northern city of Iquique to see the damage of the first 8.2 magnitude quake. She herself was forced to leave hotel in Arnica on the coast for higher ground. This latest earthquake hit an area around 20 km south of Iquique, one of the cities hit by Tuesday night's quake. It is the strongest of several aftershocks, causing buildings to wobble. But so far there have been no reports of damage and a tsunami alert along the coast has been called off.