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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chile quake affects two million

Chile quake affects two million, says Bachelet

Buildings wrecked in Concepcion
Concepcion, in southern Chile, suffered severe damage in the quake

Two million people have been affected by the massive earthquake that struck central Chile on Saturday, President Michelle Bachelet has said.
In a TV address, she said the forces of nature were testing the nation.
So far at least 300 people have been confirmed killed in the earthquake that struck in the early hours of Saturday.
The 8.8 quake - one of the biggest ever - triggered a tsunami that has been sweeping across the Pacific, although waves were not as high as predicted.
"The forces of nature have badly affected our country," Ms Bachelet said.
"And once again they've put to the test our ability to deal with adversity and get back on our feet. And we are examining every way to restore all the basic services in the country. But there's still a lot to do.
Ms Bachelet added that she had declared a state of catastrophe in six regions.
Chile is vulnerable to earthquakes, being situated on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where the Pacific and South American plates meet.

The earthquake struck at 0634 GMT, 115km (70 miles) north-east of the city of Concepcion and 325km south-west of the capital Santiago at a depth of about 35km. It is the biggest to hit Chile in 50 years.
Widespread damage to roads and buildings has been reported in many areas, including the capital where a chemical plant caught fire.
Electricity, water and phone lines have been cut.
At least 85 people died in the region of Maule alone, journalists there reported.
Many deaths were also reported in the regions of Santiago, O'Higgins, Biobio, Araucania and Valparaiso.
TV pictures showed a major bridge at Concepcion had collapsed into the Biobio river.
Rescue teams are struggling to reach Concepcion because of damage to infrastructure, national media reported.
In Santiago, where at least 13 people were killed, several buildings collapsed - including a car park.
A fire at a chemical plant in the outskirts of the capital forced the evacuation of the neighbourhood.
Haiti, 12 Jan 2010: About 230,000 people die after shallow 7.0 magnitude quake
Sumatra, Indonesia, 26 Dec 2004: 9.2 magnitude. Triggers Asian tsunami that kills nearly 250,000 people
Alaska, US, 28 March 1964: 9.2 magnitude; 128 people killed. Anchorage badly damaged
Chile, south of Concepcion, 22 May 1960: 9.5 magnitude. About 1,655 deaths. Tsunami hits Hawaii and Japan
Kamchatka, NE Russia, 4 Nov 1952: 9.0 magnitude

Santiago international airport's terminal was damaged and will be closed for at least 72 hours, officials said. Flights are being diverted to Mendoza in Argentina.
A tsunami triggered by the earthquake struck the Juan Fernandez island group off the Chilean coast and local media say five people died there with several others missing.
As the tsunami radiated across the Pacific, Japan warned that a wave of 3m (10ft) or higher could hit the Pacific coast of its northernmost island of Hokkaido at about 1300 local time (0400 GMT).
In French Polynesia, waves 6ft (1.8m) high swept ashore, but there were no immediate reports of damage.
Hawaii later lifted its tsunami warning after waves measuring just under 1m (3ft) high struck but caused no damage.
The earthquake destroyed many roads
The US Geological Survey (USGS) said tsunami effects had been observed at Valparaiso, west of Santiago, with a wave height of 1.69m above normal sea level.
The USGS also recorded at least eight aftershocks, the largest of 6.9 magnitude at 0801 GMT.
In Washington, President Barack Obama said the US was ready to help if the Chilean government required it.
Chile suffered the biggest earthquake of the 20th century when a 9.5 magnitude quake struck the city of Valdivia in 1960, killing 1,655 people.

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