Following several weeks of ongoing tremors, on 1 April 2014, at 20:46 hours, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.2 on the Richter scale occurred 89 kilometres south-west of Cuya (northern part of Chile). A few minutes after the earthquake, the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security (ONEMI) requested a preventive evacuation along the coastal border of the affected regions due to a tsunami alert. This situation prompted the evacuation of 972,457 people nationwide.
The President of the Republic, Michelle Bachelet, declared a State of Constitutional Exception of Catastrophe for Arica, Parinacota and Tarapacá, during the early morning of 2 April. Later on the same day, the University of Chile’s Centre of National Seismology signaled that they had registered 96 aftershocks, 8 of which were felt by the population.
During the night of 2 April, at 23:43 local time, a new earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale occurred 45 kilometers south-west of Iquique (northern Chile), categorized as an aftershock of the event on 1 April. A second preventative evacuation took place along the coastal border of the Arica and Parinacota, Tarapacá and Antofagasta regions. For this event 270,997 people were evacuated in an organized manner.
Six deaths were reported as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in the region of Tarapacá; four of these were due to cardio-respiratory arrest, one was due to structural collapse, and one was due to a simple accident associated with the evacuation process (ONEMI).
The number of people directly and indirectly affected by the 1 April earthquake and its subsequent aftershock on 2 April is estimated at 513,8371 . More recent counts after the evacuation concluded indicated that at least 21,660 individuals were affected.
Basic electricity and potable water services have been 100% restored in the affected areas. For more details on how the region was affected, please refer to the first Plan of Action: MDRCL009