Tsunami Alert Over; Chile In Shock

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii has lifted its alert throughout the Pacific. The alert was issued to 53 countries after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile early Saturday morning. Host Liane Hansen updates the latest on the aftermath of the Chilean earthquake and tsunami.

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(Soundbite of siren)


Yesterday, Craig Ellen Wood(ph), a listener in Honolulu, sent this from his iPhone. It's the tsunami warning siren, which sounded there.

(Soundbite of siren)

HANSEN: The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii has listed the alert it issued to 53 countries throughout the Pacific after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck Chile early Saturday morning. The tsunami claimed four lives on the Juan Fernandez Islands off the coast of Chile.

Across the Pacific, hundreds of thousands of people were told to evacuate - not only in Hawaii, but Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand and even Russia's far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula. At this hour, nothing more than surges or rough surf has washed up on those Pacific shores with no significant reports of damage or injuries.

The death toll in Chile is expected to rise. At least 300 people are now reported dead. About 100 people are reported trapped in a downtown building in the city of Concepcion, Chile's second-largest city close to the quake's epicenter.

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet says as many as two million people are affected by the wake in her country and that it will take officials several days to evaluate the extent of the damage.

We'll continue to track developments on this story, and you can check for the latest news throughout the day at NPR.org.

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