Chile lifts tsunami alert after 7.2-magnitude earthquake

10:53, March 12, 2010      

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People move to a safer place after the tsunami warning was issued following four strong aftershocks, in Valparaiso, Chile, March 11, 2010. The first aftershock, measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale, lasted 45 seconds. Three less fierce quakes followed within 25 minutes. The National Emergency Office (Onemi) of Chile issued a tsunami warning from the northern region of Coquimbo to Los Lagos in the south.(Xinhua/Cesar Pincheira)

The Chilean government lifted the tsunami alert in the center-south coast of the country after ruling out the presence of high waves which could be produced by the 7.2-magnitude on Thursday, Deputy Interior Minister Rodrigo Ubilla said.

"The alert has been lifted based on a recommendation of the Army," Ubilla said, who took charge on Thursday together with Chile's new President Sebastian Pinera.

The alert was issued after a strong earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale shook the country, which had its epicenter in Rancagua city, some 150 km south to the capital Santiago. This is the biggest aftershock since the 8.8-magnitude quake on Feb. 27.

The earthquake on Feb. 27 killed about 500 people and left tens of thousands of people homeless. Most of the deaths were due to an ensuing tsunami on the coasts of Maule and Bio Bio regions, because the tsunami alert was not issued on time.
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