Earthquake damage (archive)
Earthquake damage (archive) Israel news photo: Flash 90

A magnitude-8.8 earthquake hit Chile on Saturday, killing at least 300 people. The death toll continues to rise as more bodies are found and as reports come in from outlying areas. The Foreign Ministry reported that twenty Israeli travellers have not yet contacted their families. There is no word yet on the Jewish community in Chile.

The quake sparked fears of a tsunami around the Pacific. Scientists warned that large waves could reach as far as the eastern coast of Asia and northwestern Canada. By Sunday morning, waves had hit New Zealand, Japan and the Philippines, and tens of thousands of people were evacuated in advance.

The island state of Hawaii is expected to be hit by its largest waves since 1964.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has called on citizens not to panic and to stay off the roads in the immediate future. The Santiago airport has been shut down.

Israel was among the nations to offer help following the disaster. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Saturday evening that Israel would offer whatever assistance is necessary. The Chilean government has said that it does not need help so far.