Chile Earthquake 2010

On 27th February 2010, a powerful earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale struck just off the coast of central Chile. The earthquake occurred at the destructive plate margin where the Nazca Plate subducts the South American Plate. The earthquake was followed by a series of smaller aftershocks.

Damage done to houses in Concepcion city, Chile by the 2010 magnitude 8.8 earthquake.

Damage done to houses in Concepcion city, Chile by the 2010 magnitude 8.8 earthquake.

Tsunami warnings were issued as waves originating from the epicentre crossed the Pacific Ocean at speeds of around 800km per hour.

What were the primary effects of the Chile Earthquake?

  • Around 500 people died and 12,000 people were injured. Over 800,000 people were affected.
  • 220,000 homes were destroyed along with 4500 schools, 56 hospitals and 53 ports.
  • Santiago airport and the Port of Talahuanao were badly damaged.
  • Power, water supplies and communications were disrupted across Chile.
  • The cost of the earthquake is estimated to be US$30 billion.

What were the secondary effects of the Chile Earthquake?

  • Tsunami waves devastated several coastal towns.
  • The tsunami struck several Pacific countries, however, warnings prevented a loss of life.
  • A fire at a Santiago chemical plant led to the local area being evacuated.
  • Landslides destroyed up to 1500 km of roads, cutting off remote communities for days.

What were the immediate responses to the Chile Earthquake?

  • Emergency services responded quickly.
  • International support provided field hospitals, satellite phones and floating bridges.
  • Within 24 hours the north-south highway was temporarily repaired allowing aid to be transported from Santiago to areas affected by the earthquake.
  • Within 10 days 90% of homes had had power and water restored.
  • US$60 million was raised after a national appeal, which funded 30,000 small emergency shelters.

What were the long-term responses to the Chile Earthquake?

  • Chile’s government launched a housing reconstruction plan just one month after the earthquake, to help nearly affected 200,000 families.
  • Chile’s strong economy reduced the need for foreign aid to fund rebuilding.
  • The recovery took over 4 years.

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