7.6 Aftershock Shakes Chile

Low death toll credited to strict building codes

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 3, 2014 1:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – A second strong earthquake has hit Chile, the day after a magnitude 8.2 earthquake shook the country, forcing a million people to flee their homes but causing surprisingly few deaths. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was among those evacuated after the 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit last night, the BBC reports. The strong aftershock caused buildings to wobble but there have been no immediate reports of damage or deaths. A precautionary tsunami alert along the coast was soon called off, reports Reuters.

The earlier quake killed six people, a remarkably low toll that experts credit to preparedness and strict building codes in one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries. "They're a seismically active region of the world and they are very good at implementing their building codes similar to California," a US Geological Survey spokesman tells CNN. Some 293 inmates escaped from a women's prison in the city of Iquique during the first quake. The military has been deployed to search for them, but authorities say 131 inmates have returned voluntarily.

Fishing boats washed ashore by a small tsunami sit in Caleta Riquelme, Chile.
Fishing boats washed ashore by a small tsunami sit in Caleta Riquelme, Chile.   (AP Photo/Cristian Vivero)
People spend the night at a soccer field after a strong aftershock in Arica, Chile.
People spend the night at a soccer field after a strong aftershock in Arica, Chile.   (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)
A person walks along a dark street after a strong aftershock in Iquique, Chile.
A person walks along a dark street after a strong aftershock in Iquique, Chile.   (AP Photo/Cristian Vivero)
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