TODAY

TODAY   |  April 02, 2014

Reporter on Chile earthquake: It was ‘scary night’

Joseph Hinchliffe of The Santiago Times in Chile joins Matt Lauer to talk about the earthquake that hit Chile overnight, and says people are now on “high alert” after the quake.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> much. the editor in chief of the " santiago times " is here. people are able to look around and see the damage, have you been able to speak to people in the areas impacted the most by this?

>> we have been. more than 1,000 miles south of the epicenter. we didn't feel it here in santiago. we sent the evening reaching out to those in the affected area in the north. it was a very scary night, strong earthquake , and the rest of the night everyone was on high alert for the resulting tsunami.

>> and what about aftershocks? often times a quake like this is followed by dramatic and powerful aftershocks. have there been reports of those?

>> absolutely, more than 20 and not just aftershocks, minor earthquakes, as well. some up to six points on the richter scale . and that's the reason that the tsunami alert ran through the entire night. it was listed 50 minutes ago, before 7:00 a.m . local time . the tsunami alert was finally lifted for the entire country. people were up all night because of those aftershocks. and then, of course, the unpredictability of the tsunami.

>> talk to me about the epicenter and the area most impacted. is it a rural area ? an urban area ? what can you describe?

>> we're waiting to hear the full extent because of the rural area that would have been impacted. the sun is just rising here. and people trying to make contact with some of these fishing villages with older style adobe houses which may well have been impacted. even more strongly by this quake. but the major urban centers are two cities in the north. spent most of the night without power. there was a jailbreak, in fact, of 300 -- more than 300 prisoners who were being evacuated from a low-lying prison. there was reports of looting although the government claims everything was under control there now. the first two or three blocks of the city, it's a city on the coastline were flooded by the resulting waves after the quake. and pictures are starting to filter through via the people we've spoken to and also images and footage on social media that is showing significant damage to houses, collapsed walls, damaged infrastructure in the streets.

>> right. clearly it is a developing story. joe, thank you for your reporting, i appreciate it very much.

>> thank you, matt.