8.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Chile

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In Chile the death toll from Saturday’s earthquake has topped 700 and is expected to rise. As many as two million people have been left homeless. The 8.8-magnitude quake is one of the strongest in recorded history. More than 500,000 homes were destroyed or heavily damaged. Rescue workers are searching for survivors under the rubble of collapsed buildings, but a series of strong aftershocks have hampered the rescue efforts. The quake caused widespread damage to hospitals, schools, roads and other infrastructure. Officials said adobe homes have been most affected and that indigenous populations are most at risk. A tsunami triggered by the earthquake caused additional damage in some southern areas of Chile. The earthquake hit less than two weeks before Chilean President Michelle Bachelet leaves office. On Sunday she announced a series of emergency measures.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet: “We are facing a massive catastrophe which has caused damages that will require an enormous effort by both the public and private sectors, one of the largest (efforts) in the history of the country. This effort will be required both for now and for a period into the future. We are facing an emergency unprecedented in the history of Chile that will require an urgent and rapid response.”

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