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September 23, 2017

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Second strong earthquake hits Chile

SANTIAGO -- A powerful offshore earthquake measuring 7.6 rocked northern Chile late Wednesday, sparking a new tsunami warning and sending thousands of people fleeing for higher ground a day after a deadly tremor killed six people.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who was assessing damage from Tuesday's 8.2 jolt, was among those forced to evacuate as the latest quake sowed terror among exhausted and nervous residents.

"People are running around terrified," a resident of the northern city of Iquique told Canal 13 in a telephone interview. "It is still moving, it is terrible."

There were no immediate reports of fatalities or major damage from the new quake and authorities lifted the tsunami alert two hours later.

Bachelet, surveying damage from Tuesday's quake in the city of Arica, was evacuated to higher ground.

"People seem calm but you can tell they are prepared and are carrying bags," she said.

Bachelet had declared some areas of northern Chile disaster areas and met Wednesday with emergency relief officials to evaluate the situation.

Sirens rang as the tsunami warning was issued and thousands of people who had just endured the latest quake were again ordered to evacuate inland from coastal areas.

Peru to the north also declared another tsunami warning, according to its Navy, but later rescinded it.

The new temblor struck in the Pacific ocean at 2343 (0143 GMT Thursday), 20 kilometers south of the city of Iquique, the navy's alert service said.

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