Chileans shaken by quake stay outdoors

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IQUIQUE, Chile: Thousands of shaken Chileans spent a second night in the streets and makeshift shelters early on Thursday (Friday in Manila) following a 7.6-mag–nitude earthquake that struck 24 hours after an even stronger tremor killed six.

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President Michelle Bachelet, who was assessing damage from Tuesday’s massive 8.2 jolt, was among those forced to flee late on Wednesday as the latest temblor sowed terror among already exhausted and nervous residents.

The new quake struck in the Pacific Ocean at 11:43 p.m. (2:43 am Manila Time), 19 kilometers (12 miles) south of the northern coastal city of Iquique, the US Geological Survey said.

There were no reports of fatalities or major damage and authorities lifted a tsunami alert after two hours. Peru to the north did the same.

“This earthquake forced us to spend a second night sleeping in the street,” Lila Gomez Mamani, a resident of Pozo Almonte, told Agence France-Presse.

Families from the community near Iquique spent the night in tents put up on a soccer pitch.

Some huddled around bonfires as temperatures dropped to a chilly eight to 10 degrees Celsius (46 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit).

The poncho-clad Gomez and her family were among them, gathering wood to light a small fire to one side of the field.

“It’s the second night we’re sleeping here, there’s no way we can go home,” she said.

“We have not been helped,” she added.

Carlos Cardenas also worried about his family, which had taken refuge in one of the tents.

“We’ve only got enough to see us through until Friday,” he told AFP overnight.

Renac Zuniga, an emergency relief official, said authorities were focused on “helping the population as quickly as pos-sible” but acknowledged that Wednesday’s aftershock had complicated the situation.

AFP

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