4 Mar 2010

More aftershocks rattle Chile

4:08 pm on 4 March 2010

A series of strong aftershocks of magnitude 5.5 and higher have struck areas in Chile devastated by a powerful earthquake.

The 8.8-magnitude quake hit at 3.34am (local time) on Saturday, with its epicentre 115km north-east of Chile's second city Concepcion.

Chile has been wracked by some 150 strong aftershocks since.

The US Geological Survey said the latest aftershock of 6.1-magnitude was shallow at a depth of 34km and was centered in the ocean, 39km west of Valparaiso.

Other aftershocks have been felt in several cities, including the capital Santiago, triggering brief panic, the BBC reports. Tsunmai warnings issued after the tremors were later lifted.

Chile's president, Michelle Bachelet, says the death toll of 799 could increase in coming days.

In a nationally televised address, Ms Bachelet broke into tears as she urged the population to remain calm in the face of Chile's worst natural disaster in 50 years.

She denied there were shortages of food, water and fuel in the earthquake zone.