Monday, March 17
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Many children stayed away from school in Chile's northern coastal region Monday as aftershocks continued to rattle the area a day after a magnitude-6.7 quake hit and prompted brief evacuations due to tsunami fears.
More than 100 aftershocks, including a tremor late Sunday of magnitude-6.2, had been recorded since the strong earthquake struck just offshore Sunday evening, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Most were imperceptible but a few unsettled residents of the coastal towns in northern Chile, leading some people to sleep in their cars or outdoors.
The initial quake caused only minor damage, though officials briefly evacuated more than 100,000 people from coastal zones.
Education officials in the Tarapaca region said about 60 percent of students missed classes Monday.
"We're a seismic country and we have to return to our daily lives, we have to continue working," Ricardo Toro, national director of Chile's ONEMI emergency agency, said in encouraging people to return to normal activities.
Chile is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries. A magnitude-8.8 quake and the tsunami it unleashed in 2010 killed more than 500 people, destroyed 220,000 homes, and washed away docks, riverfronts and seaside resorts, costing Chile $30 billion, or 18 percent of its annual gross domestic product.