Chile Struck by One of Strongest Earthquakes Ever

TALCA, Chile – One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded tore apart houses, bridges and highways in central Chile on Saturday and sent a tsunami racing halfway around the world. Chileans near the epicenter were tossed about as if shaken by a giant, and authorities said at least 214 people were dead. The magnitude-8.8 quake was felt as far away as Sao Paulo in Brazil — 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) to the east. The full extent of damage remained unclear as scores of aftershocks — one nearly as powerful as Haiti's devastating Jan. 12 earthquake — shuddered across the disaster-prone Andean nation. President Michelle Bachelet declared a "state of catastrophe" in central Chile but said the government has not asked for assistance from other countries. If it does, President Barack Obama said, the United States "will be there." Around the world, leaders echoed his sentiment. In Chile, newly built apartment buildings slumped and fell. Flames devoured a prison. Millions of people fled int;_ylt=A0LEaphvpYlLSoQAKBus0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNqdDM3azJnBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwMjI3L2x0X2NoaWxlX2VhcnRocXVha2UEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwMyBHBvcwM5BHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNjaGlsZWVhcnRo