On Saturday, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet made announcement informing about the number of people died from earthquake. Accordingly, death toll hit 708 when rescue teams reached remote and badly affected places. “These numbers will continue to grow,” she said.
On Saturday Feb. 27, a 8.8 Richter earthquake hit on the South America country before dawn overturning buildings and buckling freeways. With the aim of protecting costal residents from the ensuing tsunami, authorities had to set off sirens thousands of miles away.
The earthquake did not only cause 708 deaths but also left untold numbers missing and 2 million displaced, wounded or affected.
After the earthquake, banditry happened in some of Chile areas, especially in Concepcion- Chile’s second largest city. Looters attacked on supermarkets and banks while electricity and water were cut off in this city. In the context of looting, police in armored vehicles sprayed looters with water cannons and arrested some young men.
Another coastal city, Constitucion, was also damaged heavily by the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami. 350 was the number of people died in this recorded tremor in centuries. State television reported that homes were shattered with thick mud; boats were tossed from the sea like paper toys landing on the roofs of houses.
President Bachelet, whose term ends March 11, said in her statement that international aid will be sent to recover Chile from the damage. She also hoped that everyone from the public and private sector would give a hand in a total effort.
According to Bachelet in her six-hour emergency meeting with her Cabinet on Sunday, 10,000 troops were sent to Concepcion and other areas to find bodies and look for survivors. Using the armed forces is always a sensitive topic in a country that lived under nearly two decades of military dictatorship. One of the rescue teams sent to Concepcion city was the 42-member Santiago Firefighters Task Force. The team has just returned from Haiti after this country sustained 7.0 Richter earthquake in January.
15-story apartment building in Concepcion was put at the center of rescue effort. It was reported that screams from beneath the rubble were heard. Around 100 people were thought to be trapped inside the building and at least 60 people were either rescued or emerged on their own.
According to deputy health minister Jeanette Vega, at least eight major hospitals in central and southern Chile were evacuated because of the earthquake damage.
American citizens were not encouraged to travel to Chile by the State Department. People who had already been in Chile are recommended to contact with their families and register at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago.
978 employees and consultants of the United Nations working in Chile were reported to be safe though several buildings housing U.N. agencies were damaged.
I am a writer of the Los Angeles Times. I am a regular writer on Society. I started working as a journalist since 2005 and have worked for 3 newspapers.
Find More Travel Chile Articles