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Chilean president declares quake zone a disaster area

Published on Apr 2, 2014 1:12 PM

SANTIAGO, Chile (AFP, REUTERS) - President Michelle Bachelet declared parts of northern Chile hit by an 8.2 magnitude offshore earthquake to be disaster zones.

Ms Bachelet said she would travel to the regions of Arica and Tarapaca on Wednesday, and send military officials to the areas to prevent looting and disorder. At least five quake-related deaths were reported by the interior ministry.

The quake had struck off the coast of Chile on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami, causing landslides that blocked highways and leading to five deaths.

Officials said the dead included people who were crushed by collapsing walls or were killed by heart attacks.

An elderly person being evacuated from a shelter after a tsunami alarm at Antofagasta city, north of Santiago, on the southern Pacific coast on April 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
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