Via The New York Times: Earthquake Hits Off Coast of North Chile. Excerpt:
An 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile on Tuesday night, forcing a massive evacuation along the country’s long coastline. At least five people were reported to have died.
The first waves of a tsunami hit several cities along the coast, which extends 2,653 miles.
The epicenter of the earthquake was in waters 53 miles southwest of Cuya, a small town in Arica Province near the border with Peru. The deaths — four men and one woman, all in the city of Iquique — were the result of heart attacks or crushing, Interior Minister Rodrigo Peñailillo said.
At least three people in Iquique, which has a population of about 182,000, were also reported injured.
The national emergency service ordered the immediate evacuation of all coastal areas throughout the country, including Easter Island and the archipelago of Juan Fernández.
More waves were expected throughout the night, with the highest expected to reach eight feet, near Iquique, Chilean officials said. According to a Reuters report, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the coasts of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua were also at risk.
“We are evaluating minute by minute the variations in tide, and ask the population to remain informed,” Mr. Peñailillo said, emphasizing that the tsunami warning would last for several hours.
In the hours after the earthquake, more than 300 female prisoners escaped during the evacuation of a prison in Iquique, the authorities said. More than a dozen of the inmates were recaptured, according to the police.
The government said it was sending more than 100 special forces personnel and military troops to coordinate with the security forces in Iquique, Mr. Peñailillo added.
Electricity failures occurred across most of Arica, a port city of about 200,000 people, and some adobe homes crumbled in the quake, Chilean news media reported. Mining companies in northern Chile did not immediately report damage to their installations.