Saturday, February 27, 2010

Earthquake Update from Chile

A massive earthquake just struck the south of Chile, affecting nearly the entire country. I'm fine, a bit shaken however, and am safe and sound over at the girlfriend's house about 15km inland.

At about 3:30 am local time, the ground started shaking as such that I thought it was just a minor tremor (which is fairly commonplace here), but quickly realized that it was much more powerful than that and was able to get to a safer part of my apartment. No serious damage done to the apartment, but some broken glass and the place is a mess.

As I was walking down to catch a micro (the local bus) to take to the polola's house, I was struck by the surreal normalcy of the city- people still seemed to be going about their business as normal, but conspicuously quieter and less dynamic than usual. I'm impressed by the efforts thus far not only by the rescue squads and such, but even the normal everyday citizens, such as the transportation drivers, continuing as usual.

On the whole, I didn't see too much serious damage in Valpo, mostly some busted glass, toppled street lights, broken siding, and a few people camping in the streets. Elsewhere the situation is not so fortunate: in nearby Viña, there are five confirmed deaths, and damage is worse farther inland in Santiago and Rancagua, where there have been several buildings collapsed. The worst has been of course concentrated in the south near the epicenter- Concepción and other nearby cities have been hit pretty hard, and lots of infrastructure has been wrecked.

From what I've seen so far, the epicenter was an 8.8 magnitude quake, which makes it one of the most powerful recorded in history. Where I am in Valpo recorded between a 6 and a 7, and there were at least 6 aftershocks of 6.0 or higher. So far, 122 deaths have been confirmed. This is all the more extraordinary considering that the quake that devastated Haiti was about a 7.

More up-to-date information can be seen at El Mercurio Online and The BBC.

No comments:

Post a Comment