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New alert follows Chile aftershock

Residents on Chile's northern coast spent a second sleepless night outside their homes after a major aftershock rattled an area hit a day earlier by a magnitude-8.2 earthquake that caused six deaths.

No new major damage or casualties were reported a fter the 7.6-magnitude aftershock, which struck just before midnight local time.

Chile's Emergency Office and navy issued a tsunami alert and ordered a precautionary evacuation of low-lying areas for the country's 2,500-mile Pacific coastline.

Among those moved inland was president Michelle Bachelet, who was in the city of Arica assessing damage in the north from the initial earthquake.

"I was evacuated like all citizens. One can see that the people are prepared," she tweeted.

The evacuation order initially applied to the full coast, but authorities quickly lifted the alert for all but the far northern shore and ended it there around 2am. The whole coast was evacuated for several hours after Tuesday's quake, and for the night in the north, although the tsunami proved small.

The aftershock caused buildings to shake and people to run out into the streets in the port of Iquique, which was one of the cities that saw damage from the earlier earthquake. There were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries from the aftershock, which was one of dozens that have followed the magnitude-8.2 quake.

State television said the aftershock caused some landslides near Alto Hospicio, a poor area in the hills above Iquique where about 2,500 homes were damaged by the first earthquake.

The Ministry of Education suspended classes again in schools in the north.

The aftershock was felt across the border in southern Peru, where people in the cities of Tacna and Arequipa fled buildings in fear. Police said no damage or injuries were reported.

Peru's navy tweeted a tsunami alert for the country's southern coast, which is next to the Chilean region hit by the quakes.

Earlier, authorities reported six deaths from Tuesday's magnitude-8.2 quake, but did not rule out the possibility others could have been killed in older structures made of adobe in remote communities.

The tsunami after Tuesday night's quake caused the sea to rise only 8ft in Iquique, a city of nearly 200,000 people, although that was enough to sink and damage many fishing boats.

Tuesday night's mandatory evacuation lasted 10 hours in Iquique and Arica, the cities closest to the epicentre, and kept 900,000 people out of their homes along Chile's coast. The order to leave was spread through text messages and Twitter, and reinforced by blaring sirens in neighbourhoods where people regularly practice earthquake drills.


From Belfast Telegraph