My family and l lived in Santiago for nearly 2 1/2 years, and just returned to the US Friday a week ago. We experienced earthquakes in Santiago that registered as high as 6.4, and that was pretty damn scary.
A 6.4 earthquake can knock you off balance, a little like walking across a funhouse floor. Or, it can sometimes feel like you're being shaken from side-to-side as if you were lying on a 1000 fingers massage bed. It's unnerving, but generally doesn't do too much damage.
This one was 8.8, 200 miles south of Santiago, and it shook Santiago pretty hard.
Friends in Santiago are reporting to me that electric and water are out in some areas, and there is no international calling getting through. Internet connection restored. Lots of property damage, particularly among the older building facades, but no fatalities.
A portion of Autopista Vespucio Norte, a major artery, has collapsed which will create major transportation problems in an already very congested city.
Schools, which were scheduled to start the new school year this Monday, will remained closed until March 8.
The Santiago International Airport is closed for the next 72 hours.
They are still experiencing some aftershocks, but not with the same intensity.
And on a personal note, I have Chilean friends here in New Mexico who are unable to contact family who were vacationing near Concepcion, the area that took the brunt of the quake. Please keep good thoughts for them during this difficult time.
And finally, if I hear anyone on the teevee saying that this was some sort of punishment from god, just four words: Shut Your Fu*king Piehole.
All good thoughts and wishes to the people of Chile.
UPDATE: Santiago seems to be okay. My reports are coming from friends who live in the communas of Lo Barnechea, Las Condes, Vitacura and Providencia. Lots of broken glass, but not a lot of structural damage to buildings. It's the areas south of Santiago (Concepcion, Penco) where news is very slow in coming. If anyone gets word, feel free to post in comments. I will be out for the next several hours, so I apologize if I don't respond or update.
UPDATE #2: I've heard from my Chilean friends that they were finally able to make contact with their family in Concepcion. Everyone is fine, but they are stranded for a few days until things settle down. Thank you so much for all the good thoughts, wishes and prayers. Peace to all.