Chileans spend second night outdoors after new quake

Thousands of shaken Chileans spent a second night in the streets and makeshift shelters early Thursday following a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck 24 hours after an even stronger tremor killed six.

President Michelle Bachelet, who was assessing damage from Tuesday's massive 8.2 jolt, was among those forced to flee late Wednesday as the latest temblor sowed terror among already exhausted and nervous residents.

The new quake struck in the Pacific Ocean at 11:43 pm (0243 GMT Thursday), 19 kilometers (12 miles) south of the northern coastal city of Iquique, the US Geological Survey said.

There were no reports of fatalities or major damage and authorities lifted a tsunami alert after two hours. Peru to the north did the same.

"This earthquake forced us to spend a second night sleeping in the street," Lila Gomez Mamani, a resident of Pozo Almonte, told AFP.

Families from the community near Iquique spent the night in tents put up on a soccer pitch.

Some huddled around bonfires as temperatures dropped to a chilly eight to 10 degrees Celsius (46 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.)

The poncho-clad Gomez and her family were among them, gathering wood to light a small fire to one side of the field.

"It's the second night we're sleeping here, there's no way we can go home," she said. "We have not been helped."

Carlos Cardenas also worried about his family, which had taken refuge in one of the tents.

"We've only got enough to see us through until Friday," he told AFP overnight.

Renac Zuniga, an emergency relief official, said authorities were focused on "helping the population as quickly as possible" but acknowledged that Wednesday's aftershock had complicated the situation.

- Million forced to flee -

Tuesday's tremor and many subsequent aftershocks were felt as far inland as landlocked Bolivia and sparked evacuation warnings up the Pacific coast of South America and into Central America.

Along more than 4,000 kilometers (2,490 miles) of Chile's coastline, some 975,000 people were forced to flee.

In its wake, Bachelet declared some areas of northern Chile disaster zones. Six people perished in Iquique and Alto Hospicio.

Thousands slept in the open on high ground and returned home after authorities lifted an tsunami alert 10 hours later.

The chaos -- and a collapsed wall -- allowed some 300 inmates to escape a women's prison in Iquique, the city closest to the huge quake's epicenter. Authorities said 110 of them had been recaptured.

The earthquake caused copper prices to jump to a three-week high in the major mining country.

The state-run Codelco mining company, the world's top copper producer, evacuated some facilities on the coast but none suffered damage.

No houses collapsed, but roofs sagged, windows broke and products tumbled from shelves at shopping centers in Iquique, located about 1,800 kilometers (1,120 miles) north of the capital Santiago.

Some 2,500 homes were damaged in Alto Hospicio, the National Emergency Office said.

People stood in long lines to get fuel at service stations, with gasoline rationed to a maximum of $20.

The sea rushed 200 meters (yards) inland, flooding some streets, authorities said. Fishermen reported that 80 boats had been destroyed, sunk or floated out to sea.