SANTIAGO – Around 70 earthquakes of magnitudes ranging from 3 to 6.7 struck Chile on Monday in the regions of Coquimbo, Valparaiso and the city of Santiago.
This is the highest number of aftershocks recorded since last week’s magnitude-8.4 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
Of the nearly hundred tremors recorded Monday, four of them stood out for their strength and duration, causing great anxiety especially among residents of high-rise buildings.
The first powerful quake occurred at 02:39 local time (05:39 GMT) and, according to the National Seismological Center of the University of Chile, had a magnitude of 6.2 and its epicenter was located 27 km (16.7 miles) northwest of Los Vilos.
Another magnitude-6.0 earthquake struck at 12:37 (15:37 GMT), with its hypocenter located 45 km (28 miles) northwest of Canela Baja, near the Andes mountain range.
That Mother Nature wasn’t quite done yet was evident in the quakes that followed at 14:39 (17:39 GMT) and 16:56 (19:56 GMT), measuring 6.7 and 6.0, respectively.
Although Monday was full of seismic movements, some experts are of the opinion the “great aftershock” of Wednesday’s earthquake is yet to come.
The latest report by the Chilean National Office for Emergency, or Onemi, raises the death toll in the quake, and the tsunami that followed, to 13, and the number of affected to 9,061.
While 3,931 houses have suffered minor damages, 1,280 have been rendered inhabitable due to major damages, and 656 destroyed.
According to official sources, more than 500 aftershocks have been recorded in the quake-affected area since Wednesday.
On Monday, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced new relief measures for quake victims that include a series of vouchers allocated by the emergency economic Cabinet.
There are vouchers – related to “possessions” – of 1 million pesos (approx. $1,470) for those who lost all their belongings, and that of 500,000 pesos (approx. $730) for those who suffered partial losses, she said after chairing a meeting of her administration’s political committee in La Moneda, the seat of the government.
Meanwhile, the economic cabinet is in the process of developing a system to provide aid to those who lost their business establishments or undertakings.
The president added a committee is also assessing damages to the port of Coquimbo.