7-magnitude quake damages houses, roads

SANTIAGO: A powerful 7-magnitude earthquake that hit northern Chile just past midnight damaged buildings and roads, but inflicted no injuries, the Interior Ministry’s National Emergency Office (ONEMI) said on Tuesday.
The seismic waves toppled several boulders off hilltops and onto roads, disrupting traffic until militarized police arrived to direct traffic.
However, no damage was registered to critical infrastructure such as hospitals and sanatoriums, the director of ONEMI, Ricardo Toro, told reporters.
“There have already been several aftershocks and we expect there will be more aftershocks from the large earthquake. People have to remain calm,” said Toro, adding “they will most likely continue until Tuesday.”
The quake, which measured 7 on the Richter scale of intensity, hit at 00:09 a.m. local time (0409 GMT), with its epicenter located 55 kilometers north of the town of Huasco, in the northern Atacama region, some 700 kilometers north of the capital Santiago.
The earthquake was also felt in the regions of Antofagasta and Coquimbo, in the north of the country, and Valparaiso and Santiago and the metropolitan area, in the central zone.
So far there have been over 60 aftershocks, including a 6.1-magnitude quake at 00:30 a.m. local time, and a 5.6-magnitude one at 3:01 a.m. local time, both also with an epicenter in Huasco.–Agencies