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article imageChile’s quake: Death toll climbs to 147

By Igor I. Solar     Feb 27, 2010 in World
Santiago - Official reports from Chilean authorities in Santiago have revised the number of fatalities caused by this morning’s earthquake. Now the loss of life stands at 147 people most of which died in the Region of Bio-Bio in the south of Chile.
The earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale, lasting for about 90 seconds, had its epicenter at a depth of 32 Km, a few miles off the coast of the Maule and Bio Bio Regions (lat. 35.8° S , 72.7° W), not far from Concepción, one of Chile’s largest cities. Until noon today (local time), several aftershocks were felt, 11 of them as strong as 6 Richter.
The number of casualties is surprisingly low considering the intensity of the quake which is the second strongest in recorded history and estimated about 900 times greater than the recent earthquake in Haiti. Still, the earthquake caused heavy damage to infrastructure, large fires in several cities and affected power and telecommunications in the country for several hours. Some areas of the country are still affected by power outages and lack of potable water.
Authorities in the port city of Valparaíso reported that the level of the port facilities sunk about 40 cm as a result of the quake (see picture). Strong tidal waves hit coastal towns in the central region of the country within a few hours after the quake causing heavy damage to buildings. Santiago's international airport sustained damage, is presently closed and is expected to remain closed for the next 24 to 48 hours. The capital city’s underground transportation system has been closed pending inspection of structural damage. Most supermarkets remained closed today to allow for inspection and clean up. Schools, which were supposed to re- initiate activities on monday, following the end of the summer vacation will remain closed for another week.
A tsunami warning to the whole Pacific Rim area was issued. At least three people are feared dead when large tidal waves battered Juan Fernández, an archipelago composed of several volcanic islands located about 670 Km off the central coast of Chile.
More about Chile, Earthquake, Valparaiso
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