Coastlines on both sides of the Pacific are braced for tsunamis after a magnitude 8.3 earthquake struck just off the coast of Chile, sending powerful waves flooding into its coastal cities.
Chile’s ministry of the interior and public security said five people had been killed and 1 million evacuated from their homes. A further 20 were injured, but phone networks remain down in parts of the country so the extent of damage and injury is likely to be under-reported.
A map showing the potential tsunami danger after the earthquake off the coast of Chile. Photograph: @cppgeophysics/Twitter
The first tsunami hit the coastal Chilean city of Tongoy about 8.20pm local time, a little more than 25 minutes after the earthquake. Pictures appear to show the city of Concón, popular with tourists, being deluged by waves.
Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet spoke on national TV, saying Tongoy and Coquimbo had been extensively flooded and damaged. She has declared a catastrophe zone in those areas and mobilised the military to help civilians and prevent looting.
“Once again we must confront a powerful blow from nature,” Bachelet told the nation.
Schools have been closed in several regions. The interior ministry’s national office of emergency has urged people not to return to their homes until they are told it is safe to do so.
But the quake has also sparked fears tsunamis could surge across the Pacific Ocean, with countries as far away Japan, New Zealand, Russia and the US states of California and Hawaii issuing watches, alerts and warnings.
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A watch was issued for the California coast: “A tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to persons in or very near the water is expected. The first wave may not be the largest.”
A tsunami advisory for Hawaii said a “major tsunami” was not expected but it warned of sea level changes and strong currents.
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The New Zealand minister for civil defence, Nikki Kaye, urged east coast residents in the path of any potential tsunami to stay out of the the ocean, out of boats and off beaches.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre says tsunami waves reaching more than three metres above the tide level are possible in Chile. Waves reaching one to three metres above the tide level are possible in French Polynesia. Waves reaching 0.3 to one metre above the tide level are possible for some coasts of New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Japan, New Caledonia, Samoa, Russia and other Pacific nations.
Waves could take up to 15 hours to reach New Zealand, and 21 hours to reachRussia.
The power of the initial earthquake was such that it could be felt across swaths of South America.
EARTHQUAKE SAFETY MEASURES
BEFORE – DURING – AFTER
HAZARD HUNT- Identify potential dangers in the home using common sense, fore-sight, and your imagination to reduce risk in the event of an earthquake. Take active security measures, surveying the home for possible hazards. Take steps to correct and secure these hazards, reducing risk.
* Tall heavy furniture which could fall; fix it to a wall.
* Hot water heaters that can fall away from pipes and rupture need to be anchored to a wall. Use flexible gas line connectors.
* Appliances that can be moved can break electrical or gas lines and must be anchored to a stable location with flexible connections.
* Be sure heavy mirrors or picture frames are placed away from beds and mounted securely to the wall.
* Cabinets containing breakable items should have latches and heavy objects should be placed low to the ground.
* Flammable liquids must be stored securely away from flame.
* Masonry chimneys need bricks checked. Firmly support the roof.
* Beds should not be placed near windows.
* Glass bottles should not be placed on high shelves.
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FAMILY EARTHQUAKE DRILLS will help you and your family plan and react; remembering where to seek shelter and how to protect yourselves.
* Identify safe spots and places in each room.
-Under a doorway, sturdy table, desk, or kitchen counter.
-Against an inside corner or wall; cover head with hands.
-Know and reinforce these locations by practice.
* Beware of danger zones and stay clear of:
-Windows that may shatter, including mirrors and picture frames.
-Heating units, fireplace, stove, and area around chimneys.
-Cabinets, refrigerators, and bookcases that may topple.
* Practice safe quake actions:
-Conduct drills, check reactions and choices.
* Discuss what to expect following a major earthquake and be prepared:
-To treat and take care of injuries.
-To check for gas leaks and learn where and how to turn off the gas, power, and water at main switches and valves.
-For aftershocks and exiting the building.
-Remember to stay close and if separated to activate the emergency communication plan.
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DURING AN EARTHQUAKE EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
* REACT INSTANTLY
– Stay Calm!
-Think clearly and use common sense.
-Duck and cover!
* AT HOME
-Turn off the stove and douse fires.
-Crouch under a heavy table or desk and hang onto it.
-If there is no protective furniture; crouch and brace yourself against an inside
doorway, inside corner, or wall.
* OFFICE BUILDING OR IN A STORE
-Don’t run for the exit; there may be a stampede. Stay on the same floor.
-Move away from windows.
-Crouch under a desk, bench, or table.
-Do not use the elevator.
-Expect the fire alarm and sprinkler to activate.
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* ON FOOT
-Stay outside, in the open, away from trees, signs, utility poles and lines,
-If you are near a building, duck into a doorway to avoid falling debris. Do
not enter the building.
* IN A VEHICLE
-Quickly pull to the side of the road.
-Keep away from buildings, trees, bridges, signs, overpasses, and utility
lines and poles.
-Stay in the vehicle until it stops shaking.
AFTER AN EARTHQUAKE EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
* Check for injuries and treat the injured with first aid. Take steps to stop bleeding and call for medical assistance if there is an emergency. Don’t attempt to move severely injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Cover them with blankets.
* Stay calm and use common sense.
* Put out fires. Don’t use matches, lighters, candles, electrical switches or appliances in case there is a gas leak; use flashlights.
* Check gas, water and electrical lines and check appliances for damage. If you smell gas or see a broken line, shut off the main valve.
* Wear heavy shoes and gloves in areas near fallen debris and broken glass.
* Do not touch downed power lines or broken appliances.
* Clean up dangerous spills such as glass, bleach or medicines.
* Turn on a battery-powered or car radio for instructions and information.
* Check to see that sewage lines are intact before using toilet.
* Check water and food supplies. If water is cut off, use emergency supplies found in toilet tanks and water heater.
* Check the building for damage and cracks. Do not use the fireplace until it is inspected.
* Check cabinets and closets. Open carefully and beware of falling objects.
* Watch for falling objects when you enter or leave buildings. Do not enter severely damaged structures.
* Do not use your vehicle, unless there is an emergency. Do not go sight-seeing to view damage. You may hamper the relief effort. Keep streets clear for passing emergency vehicles.
* Render aid and assistance to your community as needed.
* Be prepared for aftershocks. They can cause added damage. If near large body of water, evacuate to higher safe ground.
* If evacuation is necessary, post a message of where you can be found in clear view. Have designated reunion points. Have a 72-hour survival kit ready to take with you that includes: medicines, first aid kit, flashlight, radio batteries, important papers, cash, food, water, sleeping bags, blankets, and extra clothes.
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US Water Revolution (Have Plenty of Water when others don't have any!)
Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness guide)
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Backyard Innovator (All Year Round Source Of Fresh Meat,Vegetables And Clean Drinking Water)
Liberty Generator (Easy DIY to build your own off-grid free energy device)
Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)
Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )
Family Self Defense (Best Self Defense Strategies For You And Your Family)
Sold Out After Crisis (Best 37 Items To Hoard For A Long Term Crisis)