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More than one million people were forced to flee their homes in Chile late Wednesday night when a powerful earthquake toppled buildings and flooded several towns on the country’s western coast.
Eight people were killed. The 8.3-magnitude quake struck off the coast of central Chile and lasted for approximately three minutes.
Authorities quickly issued a tsunami warning along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Some flooding was reported and when the sun rose on Thursday the damage became clearer. Costal areas were left flooded and some buildings lay in heaps of rubble. Ultimately, though, the 2010 quake that killed more than 500 people and destroyed 220,000 homes was far more powerful — 5.6 times to be exact.
"I thought it was the end of the world and we were going to die," one man, 38-year-old Manuel Moya, told the Associated Press outside their destroyed home in Illapel, 175 miles north of Santiago. "They said it was a magnitude 8 but it felt like a 10." Speaking to the nation late Wednesday, President Michelle Bachelet urged people who had been evacuated to stay on high ground until authorities could fully evaluate the situation. Officials said schools would be closed in most of the country Thursday.
See photos of the damage
Some information in this report is provided by The Associated Press. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
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