Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet declared a state of emergency in three regions around the quake disaster zone on Wednesday, promising troops and police reinforcements to maintain public order.
Addressing the nation, Bachelet praised the authorities initial response to the tremor.
“The tsunami alert was promptly put in place and we saw an ordered evacuation with people complying immediately. The country has coped with the first hours of this emergency. I would like to ask the people who live in the affected regions to keep calm and follow the instructions of the authorities and to do everything necessary for the safety of the people and their families.”
The move to bolster public security is seen as an attempt to prevent the mass looting which took place during previous national emergencies, notably the large quake that hit Chile in 2010.