The catastrophic earthquake that struck Chile early Saturday morning is one of the most severe in the country's history. The magnitude-8.8 quake spread as far as São Paolo, Brazil and was felt by 3-million people according to the US Geological Survey. Though the tsunami that struck the coasts of Hawaii and other coastal cities around the Pacific was relatively minor, the Chilean government estimates that the earthquake has left 2,000,000 people homeless.
President Barack Obama has already pledged U.S. support in the relief efforts. The process will likely last months or even years, however.
In addition to HuffPost's coverage, a combination of liveblogging, Twitter lists with live video and blogs from those affected by the catastophe, our citizen reporters have also been sending in dispatches of the aftermath.
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9:28 PM ET: Power outages and spotty internet connections continue throughout Chile's capital. Reports from Santiago also show that some feared a tsunami would overtake the city after the initial quake and led to evacuations to higher ground. American expat Claire Jarvis reports:
We are without power in Santiago, though many parts of the capital do have power. We are watching news for the first time today. I have been able to talk to my family via facebook. We were on the coast when it happened, we moved to higher ground and spent the night in the car for fear of a tsunami.
6:58 PM ET: Just over 12 hours after the initial quake, stories are trickling in from folks who were awake when the earthquake hit. HuffPost citizen reporter Rebecca West offers one of them:
I am in Santiago currently and was waiting to hail a cab when it happened. I wasn't feeling well at the time and at first thought that I was dizzy and fainting and then realized that it was actually an earthquake. Street lamps began to shatter up and down the street and everything went dark. The part that mad me most anxious actually took place right after the quake.
The subways had already closed, and buses and cabs ceased picking people up. We had no lights in the streets and the bars kicked everyone out, so the streets were packed with people. The streetlights were out, and cars became increasingly aggressive as more people walked in their way. But everyone stayed very calm and the police mobilized very quickly to be available and direct traffic.
I've really admired how Chileans have responded. Already much of the streets have been cleaned, and people are working together. There was no morning-after grocery run, and actually most stores remained closed, or only allowed a few people at a time to enter. When I went out to buy water though, I was one of two buying the traditional "french toast" cabinet stocking food (bread, eggs, milk, water) and there were very few people out at all. I guess thats an American response. But people have been very calm, spending most of the day checking in on friends and family, particularly by the coast.
Already we have cold water again and the major repairs have been occurring quickly. But people remain very concerned about people further south--we've been glued to the television all day, as with most of the people here.
6:30 PM ET: Eric Ehrmann comments on how local media in São Paolo, Brazil has avoided any coverage of an earthquake in that city:
I am about 110 miles west of downtown Sao Paulo. Earlier today I was in Campinas, a city of about 1.3 million, which is about 50 miles west of downtown Sao Paulo... There is no local Sao Paulo coverage indicating that Sao Paulo has "hit" or "felt" earthquake, FYI.
Due east of Santiago, however, the English-language Buenos Aires Herald has covered extensively, the earthquake and related casualties in Chile, the aftershock in Salta, Argentina that killed two, as well as the Argentine government's pledge to offer aid. According to the Heraldn, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner promised Chilean head of state Michelle Bachelet that Argentina would help Chile "with whatever they need."