A massive earthquake racking up a magnitude of 7.7 has hit just off the coast of Chile prompting terrifying tsunami warnings for the country.
The huge Christmas Day earthquake occurred 140 miles south of Puerto Montt in southern Chile in the past hour, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
The BBC reports that Chile’s national emergency office has demanded the evacuation of civilians from all of the Los Lagos region coastal area.
— Astro AWANI (@501Awani) December 25, 2016
The alert read:
As a measure of precaution, we order the evacuation of coastal areas of Biobio, Araucania, Los Rios, Aysen.
Although the quake hit over 100 miles from Puerto Montt, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned that devastating waves could easily hit coasts of over 1,000km away.
Prelim M7.7 earthquake near the coast of Los Lagos, Chile Dec-25 14:22 UTC, updates https://t.co/8RemuChltH
— USGS Big Quakes (@USGSBigQuakes) December 25, 2016
One southern Chile resident said:
I’ve lived for 10 years in the south and never felt something like that.
It would be impossible not to be reminded of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami which devastated Thailand killing between 230-280 thousand people at this time.
Hopefully this horrifying warning will come to nothing.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.