Chileans scramble for supplies after new quake

IQUIQUE, Chile- Chileans desperate for supplies stood in long lines outside shops on Thursday after strong aftershocks from a deadly 8.2-magnitude earthquake forced them to spend another night out in the cold.

After six people were killed in late Tuesday’s earthquake, northern Chile was rocked by a powerful 7.6-magnitude aftershock Wednesday night, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes once more.

Yet another one with a magnitude of 6.1 hit late Thursday, off the coast at a depth of 20 kilometers (30 miles), according to the US Geological Survey. The epicenter was 76 km (47 miles) southest of the northern city of Iquique.

President Michelle Bachelet, who was assessing damage from the first jolt, was among those forced to flee as the latest temblor sowed terror among already exhausted and nervous residents in the earthquake-prone region.

The quake Wednesday struck in the Pacific Ocean at 11:43 pm (0243 GMT Thursday), 19 kilometers (12 miles) south of Iquique, the US Geological Survey said.

There were no reports of new fatalities or major damage and authorities lifted a tsunami alert after two hours. Peru to the north did the same.

Residents in Iquique, who now live in fear of more aftershocks, queued up to buy supplies in the city of 180,000 people.

Some 1,500 people stood in front of a supermarket and cash machines, while drivers lined up to fill their cars’ fuel tanks.

Residents reported cases of price gouging, with the cost of bread and water doubling.

Prosecutors ordered the arrest of shopkeepers who inflate prices. Bachelet has deployed troops to the area to deter any looting.

“We are now living without light in some areas and without water for two days,” said Mirna Mela, a resident of Iquique. “Shops are not opening, so we can’t get supplies.”

Power was restored to 72 percent of the Tarapaca region while potable water returned to 67 percent of the area.