A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck central Chile on Sunday night. It was the strongest and longest earthquake since a huge quake devastated the same region two years ago. According to the Chilean media, there are no reports of deaths or major damage.
The quake struck at around 7:30 p.m., about 27 kilometres northwest of Talca, a city of more than 200,000 people where residents said the shaking lasted about a minute. Buildings also swayed in Chile's capital Santiago, which is located 219 kilometres to the north, where people were seen running out of skyscrapers, and many neighbourhoods were left electrical power and disrupted phone service.
“There are some injuries but nothing serious,” said Chile's Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter.
Shortly after the earthquake, the Chilean navy's hydrographic and oceanographic service, and the national emergency office, called off the tsunami warning after an analysis showed the quake wasn't the type that could eventually provoke a tsunami. However, hundreds of coastal residents were staying away from the shore, remembering what happened just two years ago (in 2010 the government said there would be no tsunami just before huge waves struck the coast of Chile after the 2010 quake, killing 156 people). To prevent any bigger disasters from happening, more than 7,000 people were removed from their homes in the coastal region of Maule.
The strong 7.1 magnitude earthquake was actually the second quake in two days, as the Chilean media reports there people were shaken awake Saturday morning by a 5.1 magnitude temblor in metropolitan Santiago.
In South Korea for an official visit, the president of Chile Sebastian Pinnñera said:
"The public services have all been re-established, electricity, water, communications...and the government is preparing a plan to help collaborate with those who suffered any bad consequences from this earthquake"