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Chile earthquake kills 8

June 14, 2005 19:33 IST
A powerful earthquake rattled cities in Bolivia and Peru and heavily damaged mountain villages in northern Chile, killing at least eight people, officials said.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9, making it the world's third strongest temblor since the quake that set off an Asian tsunami in December. (Complete coverage)

It struck Monday evening and was centered in an unpopulated Andean area, about 940 miles north of Santiago, Chile's capital.

Interior Minister Jorge Correa said a boulder fell on a car near Chile's northern port city of Iquique, killing all five passengers -- three adults and two children. The other victims were three elderly men killed in two different Andean villages. One of the victims was a disabled 80-year-old man killed when a wall collapsed at his home.

Correa said several people were injured but did not provide a number or other details. In addition, several homes and roads were damaged. He said there could be more victims in some isolated communities, but added no details were immediately available because of poor communications.

The quake was also felt in several cities in neighboring Peru and Bolivia, but no victims or major damage were reported in either country.

In the Bolivian capital of La Paz, many people took to the streets in panic.

Power supply and communications were interrupted in Iquique and Arica, another port city near Chile's border with Peru.

After a 9.0 quake near Sumatra in Indonesia spawned the tsunami December 26, a deadly 8.7 temblor struck the same area on March 28.

Eduardo Gallardo in Santiago
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