Report: Thousands Return Home After Earthquake in Chile

Reuters is reporting that thousands of people who evacuated Chile's low-lying coastal areas returned home on Wednesday morning after authorities called off a tsunami alarm as damage from a massive overnight earthquake seemed mostly limited.

According to the report, the earthquake, with a magnitude of 8.2, struck off the coast of northern Chile near the copper exporting port of Iquique on Tuesday evening, killing six and triggering a tsunami that pounded the shore with 2-meter (7-foot) waves.

Mines in Chile, the world's No. 1 copper producer, mostly said they were functioning normally, and oil refineries said they were normalizing operations, according to the report.

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The country's president, Michelle Bachelet, declared parts of Chile's north a disaster zone, promising troops and police reinforcements to maintain order while damage was repaired after landslides blocked roads.

Bachelet was scheduled to visit the affected areas later Wednesday as authorities evaluate the full extent of damage.

According to the Associated Press, evacuations have also been ordered in Peru, where waves two meters above normal forced about 200 people to leave the seaside town of Boca del Rio. But there were no injuries or major damage, according to the report.

Authorities have called off the tsunami alert across most of Chile except in six regions: Arica, Pisagua, Iquique, Patache, Tocopilla and Mejillones.

Click here for the Reuters report and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates on this story. 

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