Though building codes are strict in the earthquake-prone country numerous buildings and bridges have collapsed. The mayor of Concepcion- a city of roughly one million people located about seventy miles from the epicenter- "described her city as 'Dante-esque'".
The tsunami alert has been lifted throughout the Americas including the Hawaiian islands. Still, Japan is on high alert though the only tidal wave reported at the time of this update was four inches tall.
In a Saturday night televised speech Chilean President Michelle Bachelet described the damage caused by the tremor and also tried to inspire unity amongst her fellow Chileans:
"This earthquake was of great magnitude and we have a great task ahead of us," she said.
"It requires time and resources, but more than anything the will and collaboration of each one of us.
"We have done it before. I have no doubt that we will move forward once again. Let's be strong Chile."
Numerous countries throughout the Americas and the world have pledged to help in Chilean rescue and reconstruction efforts. (For instance, the European Union set aside three million Euros to assist Chile).
The official death toll still stands at 147 though BBC News cited local journalists claiming 85 fatalities in the region of Maule.
A tsunami alert still exists in the Pacific Rim area and tidal waves up to six feet have hit French Polynesia. Approximately 100,000 Hawaiians have been evacuated in anticipation of ten-foot tidal waves while residents of Chile's Easter Island have also been forced to seek higher ground.
Chile's Red Cross has launched an appeal for private donations. According to their Twitter feed donations can be deposited to Citibank Account Number 9941-973331, ABA code 021000089. Furthermore, USA TODAY provides other ways you can help including via text messaging.
Via the Twitter page of VivirLatino:
Número para info de ciudadanos americanos en Chile / Info about US citizens in Chile: 1-888-407-4747 ( via @RedCross )
Emergency phone #s inside #Chile have been released. You can call if looking for loved ones (56) 568 1290 or (56) 568 1295
Speaking of Twitter please check these frequently updated feeds via NPR and the New York Times.
measuring eight feet in height touched down on the Chilean coastal town of Talcahuano. The Chilean government has reported of "a large wave" that hit the island of Juan Fernandez killing three people and leading to ten missing.
Update (1:30 pm):
President Michelle Bachelet spoke a few moments ago to the press and urged solidarity amongst her countrymen. She also called on people to remain calm and to try to stay away from coastal areas. "There is major infrastructural damage including hospitals and airports...that is being evaluated," said Bachelet.
The country's head of national emergency raised the official death toll to 147 people.
The tsunami alert in Pacific Basin countries continues to be activated. Several Mexican provinces are on high alert while evacuations keep taking place in coastal parts of Hawaii.
This morning's tremor has been reported as one of the strongest on record. It certainly seems that way when watching surveillance camera video of the intense shaking roughly twelve hours ago:
The Chilean government has raised the death toll to 122 though that figure is expected to significantly increase.
Meanwhile several countries have been on high alert for a tsunami; evacuations are currently underway in the coastal areas of Hawaii, for example. CNN International has just reported that a tsunami is expected to hit Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in roughly one hour.
More updates forthcoming...
The tremor- which lasted approximately one minute- has reportedly killed at least 82 people though that figure is expected to rise. Chilean president Michelle Bachelet declared a "state of catastrophe" in two regions after hospitals, schools, churches and other edifices collapsed in several municipalities. Blackouts hit several cities including the capital Santiago while numerous aftershocks where felt through out the country.
The tremor is being reported as one of the strongest ever recorded in the Americas and comes roughly six weeks after a 7.0 earthquake killed tens of thousands of Haitians.
The strength of the earthquake off the Chilean coast has led to a tsunami alert for every country across the Pacific Ocean including Japan, Australia, and the U.S.
Updates will be posted throughout the day. Stay tuned…
Online Sources (in the original post) – YouTube, CNN, MSNBC, Xinhua, The Latin Americanist