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BREAKING NEWS: Chile Hit With Massive 8.8 Earthquake & Tsunami Warnings in Effect

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CNN is reporting that a massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake rocked Chile early this morning (Saturday), killing at least 122 people and triggering tsunami warnings for the entire Pacific basin.

Numerous tsunami waves have been reported in the Pacific, with one reaching as high as 7.7 feet in the central Chile coastal town of Talcahuano, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

President Michelle Bachelet & President Barack Obama

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said she expected the death toll in her country to rise.

The report from CNN:

The capital of Santiago lost electricity and basic services including water and telephones. Bachelet said regional hospitals had suffered damage; some were evacuated. A major bridge connecting northern and southern Chile was rendered inoperable, and the Santiago airport was shut down for at least the next 24 hours.

Chilean television showed buildings in tatters in Concepcion, with whole sides torn off. At least two buildings there were engulfed in flames, and roads in the city were broken up, video showed.

Television Nacional de Chile reported that only three stories of a 15-story building remained standing.

Numerous aftershocks — including one of magnitude 6.9 — were felt within hours of the initial quake, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

As daylight broke and more of the quake damage could be surveyed, yet another threat loomed: a tsunami.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning, the highest level of a tsunami alert, for the entire Pacific region, including Hawaii and places as far away as Russia and Japan.

“We have information of high-altitude waves that could be seen in the following hours,” Bachelet said. “We are evacuating people in lower areas to higher ground.” California and Alaska are under a tsunami advisory.

“An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours,” the National Weather Service said in a statement.

We will keep you updated as information on Chile & tsunami warnings become available. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Chile.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.

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