Chile began to recover Thursday from an 8.3-magnitude earthquake that rocked the coast and caused about 1 million people to evacuate their homes. The United States Geological Survey said the area west of Santiago had experienced about 40 aftershocks since the initial quake, most recently a 5.5-magnitude temblor off the shores of Coquimbo just after 10 a.m. EDT.
The National Emergency Office of the Ministry of Interior and Public Safety lifted its tsunami warning for Chile Thursday morning as it assessed damage to the country, Reuters reported. The office also updated its death toll from eight to 10 casualties -- at least one from a collapsing wall and one from a heart attack. "Once again, we're having to deal with another harsh blow from nature," President Michelle Bachelet said in a statement on TV, adding that she would tour the hardest-hit areas.
The initial earthquake struck about 29 miles west of Illapel around 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday. The emergency office reported that more than 1 million people quickly evacuated as waves as high as 15 feet flooded coastal cities. At least 110,000 people were left without power, and 3,100 had no clean drinking water, according to an emergency update. Subsequent quakes have ranged from 7.0 to 4.7 on the Richter scale.
"I thought it was the end of the world and we were going to die," 38-year-old Illapel resident Manuel Moya told the Associated Press. "They said it was a magnitude 8, but it felt like a 10."
Chile was no stranger to natural disasters. Last year, an 8.2-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Iquique, about 1,800 kilometers or 1,120 miles north of Santiago. Six people died. In 2010, the area near the capital experienced an 8.8-magnitude temblor and subsequent tsunami that left more than 500 people dead. Bachelet was criticized at the time for not doing more to alert residents of the tsunami threat, accept aid and stop looting, CNBC reported.