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Chile restarts evacuation due to tsunami threat

(Xinhua)

15:28, March 26, 2012

SANTIAGO, March 25 (Xinhua) -- The Chilean government said Sunday night that authorities have restarted evacuating citizens in the central coastal area for fear of an earthquake-triggered tsunami.

The National Emergency Bureau (Onemi) resumed the evacuation as a precaution following the "observation of a certain intake of the sea," which is seen as the premonitory phenomena of a tsunami, said government spokesman Andres Chadwick.

Following the strong earthquake which hit central Chile earlier in the day, Onemi originally called for a preventative evacuation in the coastal area between the towns of Valparaiso and Biobio, but later canceled the warning.

Three people have been known slightly injured, but there have been no immediate reports of deaths or significant damage caused by the tremor, whose magnitude was put at 6.8 by Chile's Seismological Service and at 7.1 by the U.S. Geological Service.

In 2010, a 8.8-magnitude quake hit off the coast of central Chile and triggered a tsunami that devastated several small coastal towns. Misinformation and delayed evacuation were believed to have exacerbated the casualties.

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