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Chile earthquake: Coastal areas throughout Pacific brace for tsunamis after 8.8 earthquake

February 27, 2010 |  8:48 am
Map The death toll is expected to rise from a devastating earthquake that struck Chile after midnight Saturday, and President Michelle Bachelet declared parts of her country catastrophe zones.

[For the record: An earlier headline on this story misspelled Chile as Chili.]

Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma told reporters at a news conference that the magnitude 8.8 quake with an epicenter 60 miles offshore from the port city of Concepcion had left at least 82 dead.

The first television transmission of the damage showed collapsed highway overpasses and buildings in south Santiago, the capital, and Concepcion. As many as 11 aftershocks, some of magnitude 6.0 or higher, continued to strike the region throughout the morning. The international airport of Santiago remained closed Saturday afternoon.

Coastal cities throughout the Pacific region were bracing for possible tsunamis. Hawaii was expected to receive a tsunami of 3 feet to 6 feet by midday. Waves measuring more than 6 feet had struck the Chilean island of Juan Fernandez.

Yoma said emergency rescue teams were in operation in various cities

Continue reading 8.8 earthquake strikes Chile.

-- Chris Kraul in Bogota, Colombia

Photos: Chile hit by 8.8 earthquake.