If you plan to move to Chile, you must have heard about earthquakes. Let's talk about them and the other natural disasters that can occur in Chile.
Given the geographical situation of Chile, the country is subject to many natural hazards: earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, fires, volcanic eruptions, risks related to the break-up of glaciers, etc.
However, do not panic because Chile and Chileans are well prepared for these risks, and if you follow the guidelines presented in this article, you should not have any problem.
Chile is one of the most seismically active countries in the world. Indeed, the country is located on the join between two tectonic plates and is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Since 2010, Chile has experienced three earthquakes of magnitude higher than 8 on the Richter scale (8.8 in 2010, 8.2 in 2014 and 8.3 in 2015). The country is well prepared for the event of an earthquake. A strict anti-seismic construction policy is in force throughout the country, which considerably reduces the number of collapses and casualties.
If you are inside a building:
If you are outside:
If you have children going to school, please read carefully:
If your children are in school during a major earthquake, they are SAFER than at your side.
If you rush to school to pick up your children:
If you are anxious to pick up your children and want to go anyway at school, do not pick up the children of your neighbor or your friend on the pretext of bringing them home, without permission and without having warned the parents. You do not know if parents are on their way to pick up their children. When in doubt, leave them under the responsibility of the school.
Tsunamis are often caused by earthquakes and cause more casualties. For instance, the 2015 earthquake was followed by a tsunami. Chile has a text messaging alert service and sirens for tsunami warnings. The website www.onemi.cl keeps you informed and help you get prepared in case of a tsunami.
If you are on the seashore and an earthquake has just occurred, head immediately further inland and shelter in an elevated place. If you notice that the sea is receding or the sea level is falling, do not wait for the tsunami warning, leave and stay away from the water’s edge: you only have a few minutes left before a tsunami strikes the coast. If a tsunami warning is triggered, follow the evacuation signs and listen to the radio to know the authorities instructions.
Chile has more than 2000 volcanoes, including the highest in the world, Ojos del Salado, which culminates at 6893m. About 500 are still active.
The last eruption occurred in 2015, when the Cabulco volcano erupted after 43 years without any activity.
Storms often come with torrential rains and can cause landslides. In 2015, Chile was hit by a storm, killing several people.
Heavy rainfalls can lead to floods and landslides. In February 2017, floods in Santiago have deprived 5 million Chileans of running water for several hours or several days depending on the area.
In summer, drought, strong winds and extreme temperatures favor fires and flame spread. In January 2017, fires ravaged central Chile.