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Massive 8.8 Chilean Quake Sparks Tsunami Warnings
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Massive 8.8 Chilean Quake Sparks Tsunami Warnings
27-02-2010 12:19 PM
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120 killed following mag.-8.8 quake in Chile
120 killed following mag.-8.8 quake in Chile
Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vehicles that were driving along a highway that collapsed during the earthquake near Santiago are seen overturned on the asphalt Saturday Feb. 27, 2010 after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile early Saturday. (AP Photo / David Lillo)

TALCA, Chile -- A devastating earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, toppling homes, collapsing bridges and plunging trucks into the fractured earth. A tsunami set off by the magnitude-8.8 quake threatened every nation around the Pacific Ocean - roughly a quarter of the globe.

President-elect Sebastian Pinera said more than 120 people died, but the death toll was rising quickly.

In the town of Talca, just 65 miles (105 kilometers) from the epicenter, Associated Press journalist Roberto Candia said it felt as if a giant had grabbed him and shaken him.

The town's historic center, filled with buildings of adobe mud and straw, largely collapsed, though most of those were businesses that were not inhabited during the 3:34 a.m. (1:34 a.m. EST, 0634 GMT) quake. Neighbors pulled at least five people from the rubble while emergency workers, themselves disoriented, asked for information from reporters.

Many roads were destroyed, and electricity, water and phone lines were cut to many areas - meaning there was no word of death or damage from many outlying areas.

In the Chilean capital of Santiago, 200 miles (325 kilometers) northeast of the epicenter, a car dangled from a collapsed overpass, the national Fine Arts Museum was badly damaged and an apartment building's two-story parking lot pancaked, smashing about 50 cars whose alarms rang incessantly.

Experts warned that a tsunami could strike anywhere in the Pacific, and Hawaii could face its largest waves since 1964 starting at 11:19 a.m. (4:19 p.m. EST, 2119 GMT), according to Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Tsunami waves were likely to hit Asian, Australian and New Zealand shores within 24 hours of the earthquake. The U.S. West Coast and Alaska, too, were threatened.

Waves 6 feet (1.8 meter) above normal hit Talcahuano near Concepcion 23 minutes after the quake, and President Michelle Bachelet said a huge wave swept into a populated area in the Robinson Crusoe Islands, 410 miles (660 kilometers) off the Chilean coast, but there were no immediate reports of major damage.

Bachelet said she had no information on the number of people injured in the quake. She declared a "state of catastrophe" in central Chile.

"We have had a huge earthquake, with some aftershocks," she said from an emergency response center. She said Chile has not asked for assistance from other countries, and urged Chileans not to panic.

"The system is functioning. People should remain calm. We're doing everything we can with all the forces we have. Any information we will share immediately," she said.

Powerful aftershocks rattled Chile's coast - 29 of them magnitude 5 or greater and one reaching magnitude 6.9 - the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

In Santiago, modern buildings are built to withstand earthquakes, but many older ones were heavily damaged, including the Nuestra Senora de la Providencia church, whose bell tower collapsed. A bridge just outside the capital also collapsed, and at least one car flipped upside down.

Several hospitals were evacuated due to earthquake damage, Bachelet said.

Santiago's airport will remain closed for at least 24 hours, airport director Eduardo del Canto said. The passenger terminal suffered major damage, he told Chilean television in a telephone interview. TV images show smashed windows, partially collapsed ceilings and pedestrian walkways destroyed.

Santiago's subway was shut as well and hundreds of buses were trapped at a terminal by a damaged bridge, Transportation and Telecommunications Minister told Chilean television. He urged Chileans to make phone calls or travel only when absolutely necessary.

Candia was visiting his wife's 92-year-old grandmother in Talca when the quake struck.

"Everything was falling - chests of drawers, everything," he said. "I was sleeping with my 8-year-old son Diego and I managed to cover his head with a pillow. It was like major turbulence on an airplane."

In Concepcion, 70 miles (115 kilometers) from the epicenter, nurses and residents pushed the injured through the streets on stretchers. Others walked around in a daze wrapped in blankets, some carrying infants in their arms.

A 15-story building collapsed: "I was on the 8th floor and all of a sudden I was down here," said Fernando Abarzua, who lived in the building but somehow escaped with no major injuries.

Abarzua said a relative was still trapped in the rubble six hours after the quake hit, "but he keeps shouting, saying he's OK."

Concepcion, Chile's second-largest city, is 60 miles (95 kilometers) from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.

The quake also shook buildings in Argentina's capital of Buenos Aires, 900 miles (1,400 kilometers) away on the Atlantic side of South America. It was felt as far away as Sao Paulo in Brazil - 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) east of the epicenter.

Marco Vidal, a program director for Grand Circle Travel who was traveling with a group of 34 Americans, was on the 19th floor of the Crown Plaza Santiago hotel when the quake struck.

"All the things start to fall. The lamps, everything, was going on the floor," he said. "I felt terrified."

Cynthia Iocono, from Linwood, Pennsylvania, said she first thought the quake was a train.

"But then I thought, `Oh, there's no train here.' And then the lamps flew off the dresser and my TV flew off onto the floor and crashed."

The quake struck after concert-goers had left South America's leading music festival in the coastal city of Vina del Mar, but it caught partiers leaving a disco.

"It was very bad. People were screaming. Some people were running, others appeared paralyzed. I was one of them," Julio Alvarez told Radio Cooperativa.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center called for "urgent action to protect lives and property" in Hawaii, which is among 53 nations and territories subject to tsunami warnings.

"Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter and could also be a threat to more distant coasts," the warning center said. It did not expect a tsunami along the west of the U.S. or Canada.

The largest earthquake ever recorded struck the same area of Chile on May 22, 1960. The magnitude-9.5 quake killed 1,655 people and left 2 million homeless. The tsunami that it caused killed people in Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines and caused damage to the west coast of the United States.
27-02-2010 12:24 PM
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TIME Reporters First-Person Account of Santiago Quake
27-02-2010 12:35 PM
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CNN: Massive quake, aftershocks hit Chile; at least 147 dead

Massive quake, aftershocks hit Chile; at least 147 dead
February 27, 2010 2:36 p.m. EST

Santiago, Chile (CNN) -- A massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake rocked Chile early Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, killing at least 147 people and triggering tsunami warnings for the entire Pacific basin.

Warning sirens were sounded in Hawaii at 6 a.m., although any possible tsunami would not strike for several hours. Tsunamis can travel at 400 to 500 mph, the speed of a jet plane, said Georgia Tech geology professor Kurt Frankel.

A large wave killed three people and 10 were missing on the island of Juan Fernandez, 400 miles (643 km) off the coast of Chile, said Provincial Governor Ivan De La Maza.

On mainland Chile, the task of trying to save survivors and recover the dead was fully under way by late morning. Buildings lay in rubble, bridges and highway overpasses were toppled and roads buckled like rumpled paper.

"This is a major event. This happened near some very populated areas," said Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "With an 8.8, you expect damage to the population in the area."

iPresident Obama said the United States stands ready to assist Chile in rescue and recovery efforts, and that the country would take any steps to prepare for a potential tsunami along American shores.

The quake struck at 3:34 a.m. off the Pacific coast, about 60 miles northwest of Chillan, Chile, the USGS said. Santiago, the capital, is 200 miles northeast of the epicenter.

At least 33 aftershocks were reported, the most recent being a 6.3-magnitude in Argentina.

"There are really aftershocks like every hour," said Felipe Baytelman, speaking to CNN from Santiago.

Chilean officials took to the airwaves to try to control any jitters.

"We are asking everyone to stay calm, to be patient," Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said after inspecting some of the damaged areas. "We assure everyone that emergency crews are working to resolve these issues.

Bachelet declared areas of catastrophe, similar to a state of emergency, which will allow her to rush in aid. She said the town of Chillan -- which was destroyed by a killer quake in 1939 -- was one of the worst affected.

Check out the world's biggest earthquakes since 1900

"I would like to offer my condolences to the families of...people who lost their lives during the earthquake," said President-elect Sebastian Pinera. "The number of victims could get higher."

The capital lost electricity and basic services, including water and telephones. Bachelet said regional hospitals had suffered damage; some were evacuated. A major bridge connecting northern and southern Chile was rendered inoperable, and the Santiago airport was shut down for at least the next 24 hours.

Chilean television showed buildings in tatters in Concepcion, in coastal central Chile. Whole sides of buildings were torn off, and at least two structures were engulfed in flames. Video showed roads that were destroyed and impassable.

The earth's rumbling was felt by millions in Chile and in parts of Argentina, as well. Some buildings were evacuated in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, which is 690 miles from Santiago.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was trying to contact the Santiago-based U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean for an assessment of the earthquake and information on staffers.

As recovery efforts continued in Chile, threat of a tsunami loomed.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning, the highest level, for the entire Pacific region, including Hawaii and countries as far away as Russia and Japan.

"We have information of high-altitude waves that could be seen in the following hours," Bachelet said. "We are evacuating people in lower areas to higher ground."

California and Alaska were under a tsunami advisory.

Follow tsunami warning information

"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours," the National Weather Service said in a statement.

USGS geophysicist Victor Sardina said several tsunami waves had come ashore along the Chilean coast; the largest was recorded at 9 feet near the quake's epicenter.

The earliest estimated arrival for a wave that could affect Hawaii is 11:19 a.m. (4:19 p.m. ET), according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

But evacuations of coastal areas began at 6 a.m. Outdoor siren systems in each Hawaiian county sounded simultaneously to alert residents and visitors to evacuate coastal areas.

Saturday's temblor comes weeks after an 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated parts of Haiti and killed more than 220,000 people. The Chilean quake, at magnitude 8.8, was 700 to 800 times stronger.

CNN Chile suffered damage to its broadcast facilities, although it is still actively newsgathering.

Eduardo de Canto, the head of airport operations in Santiago, told Chile's TVN that the terminal in the airport is severely damaged, although he said runways were operational.

Santiago resident Leo Perioto jumped out of his bed in his apartment at the top of a six-story building.

"The whole building was shaking," he said. "The windows were wobbling a lot. We could feel the walls moving from side to side."

Glass shattered at the Santiago Marriott Hotel, but there appeared to be no structural damage, said Alessandro Perez.

Anita Herrera at the Hotel Kennedy in Santiago said electricity was out and guests were nervous.

"Our hotel is built for this," she said. "In Chile, this happens many times."

All but two U.S. Embassy personnel in Chile are accounted for, the U.S. State Department said. No decision has been made about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's planned trip next week to five Latin American countries, including Chile.

Coastal Chile has a history of deadly earthquakes, according to the USGS. Since 1973, there have been 13 quakes of magnitude 7.0 or higher.

Saturday's epicenter was just a few miles north of the largest earthquake recorded in the world, a magnitude 9.5 quake in May 1960 that killed 1,655 and unleashed a tsunami that crossed the Pacific.

The earthquake off the west coast of South America caused a tsunami that reached the Hawaiian Islands in about 15 hours. This tsunami caused little damage elsewhere in the islands, but the Hilo Bay area was hard hit. Sixty-one people lost their lives and about 540 homes and businesses were destroyed or severely damaged. The wave heights in Hilo Bay reached 35 feet compared to only 3-17 feet elsewhere.
27-02-2010 12:42 PM
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psyops Offline

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Post: #5
RE: Massive 8.8 Chilean Quake Sparks Tsunami Warnings

Chilean-Americans Gather at LA Restaurant
Family, friends gather at a Melrose Avenue restaurant
Updated 8:26 AM PST, Mon, Mar 1, 2010

Members of LA County's Chilean community -- estimated at about 20,000 strong, according to community leaders -- waited to hear from family and friends Monday, two days after a magnitude-8.8 earthquake.

"We have a lot of anguish," Jorge Rojas, 44, whose family is from Talca, told the LA Times. "You can't see your family. You can't even talk with them."

Many gathered at Ricon Chileno, a Chilean restaurant off Melrose Ave., to hear the latest news of family members and friends caught in the quake zone and to console one another as the pictures of devastation flashed over news broadcasts.

The magnitude 8.8 earthquake rocked Chile on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 3:34 a.m.

In Orange County, Natalia Martinez told the OC Register she was trying to locate her grandmother, who resides just south of the quake's epicenter. Phone lines were dead, so she turned to Facebook.

"It's interesting. My father always said, 'Don't use Facebook.' Now he's trying to use Facebook through me," the 28-year-old told the Register.
01-03-2010 11:46 AM
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psyops Offline

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Post: #6
Massive 8.8 Chilean Quake : Chilean Cops Battle Looters After Quake
Mar 1, 2010 10:51 am US/Pacific
Chilean Cops Battle Looters After Quake
Cops Enforce Curfew In Hard-Hit City of Concepcion, Ward Off Looters With Tear Gas As Death Toll Tops 700
State Department's Chile Task Force: | 1-888-407-4747 | Google's Chile Earthquake Person Finder


A soldier patrols the debris-covered of downtown Talcahuano, Chile, March 1, 2010.
Patrick Lin/AFP/Getty Images

Rescuers found signs of life in the wreckage of a 15-story building Monday as the world offered aid to victims of an earthquake that killed more than 700 people. Troops and police arrested dozens of people for violating a curfew designed to prevent looting.

The toll of dead rose to 723, with 19 others missing, the National Emergency Office announced, in a magnitude-8.8 quake that President Michelle Bachelet called "an emergency without parallel in Chile's history."

Some coastal towns were almost obliterated -- first shaken by the quake, then slammed by a tsunami that carried whole houses inland and crushed others into piles of sticks. Shocked survivors were left without power, water or food.

How To Help Chile

* American Red Cross
* Americares
* Direct Relief International
* Operation USA
* OXFAM America
* World Vision International

In Concepcion, the biggest city near the epicenter, rescuers heard the knock of trapped victims inside a toppled 70-unit apartment building and began to drill through thick walls to reach them, said fire department Commander Juan Carlos Subercaseux.

Only the chop of military helicopters flying overhead broke the silence demanded by rescuers straining to hear signs of life inside the building.

Firefighters had already pulled 25 survivors and eight bodies from the structure.

Mayor Jacqueline van Rysselberghe told Radio Cooperativa that some food aid was arriving in the city of 200,000 Monday for distribution to the hungry. Electricity was still out, however, and water was scarce.

Concepcion police chief Eliecer Soler said officers arrested 55 people for violating a curfew imposed after looters sacked nearly every market in town. Troops ordered into the city by Bachelet patrolled to enforce security. A few looters re-emerged to rob a market on Monday.

Spanish professor Eduardo Aundez watched with disgust as a soldier patiently waited for looters to rummage through a downtown store, then lobbed two tear gas canisters into the rubble to get them out.

"I feel abandoned" by authorities, he said. "We believe the government didn't take the necessary measures in time, and now supplies of food and water are going to be much more complicated."

The U.N. said Monday that it would rush aid deliveries to Chile after Bachelet appealed for international aid. U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said Chile was seeking temporary bridges, field hospitals, satellite phones, electric generators, damage assessment teams, water purification systems, field kitchens and dialysis centers.

"We are prepared to provide assistance," Byrs told The Associated Press in Geneva. "It could be quite fast, given that our experts are on standby and were alerted in the region."

The World Health Organization said it expected the death toll to rise in the coming days as communications improve. For survivors, it said access to health services will be a major challenge and noted that indigenous people living in adobe homes were most at risk from heavily damaged infrastructure.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also offered to provide disaster aid. Traveling in Uruguay, Clinton said she would bring some communications equipment when she visits Chile on Tuesday.

Argentina said it was sending six aircraft loaded with a field hospital, 55 doctors and water treatment plants.

Bachelet ordered troops to help deliver food, water and blankets and clear rubble from roads, and she urged power companies to restore service first to hospitals, health clinics and shelters. Field hospitals were planned for hard-hit Concepcion, Talca and Curico.

Bachelet also ordered authorities to quickly identify the dead and return them to their families to ensure "the dignified burials that they deserve."

Defense Minister Francisco Vidal acknowledged the navy made a mistake by not immediately activating a tsunami warning after the quake hit before dawn Saturday. Port captains in several coastal towns did, saving what Vidal called hundreds of lives.

Thirty minutes passed between the quake and a wave that inundated coastal towns, leaving behind sticks, scraps of metal and masonry houses ripped in two. A beachside carnival in the village of Lloca was swamped in the tsunami. A carousel was twisted on its side and a Ferris wheel rose above the muddy wreckage.

Officials said at least eight people died and eight were missing on Robinson Crusoe Island, where it the tsunami drove the sea almost 2 miles (3 kilometers) into the town of San Juan Bautista.

Efforts to determine the full scope of destruction were undermined by an endless string of terrifying aftershocks that turned more buildings into rubble -- and forced thousands to set up tents in parks and grassy highway medians.

"If you're inside your house, the furniture moves," said Monica Aviles, pulling a shawl around her shoulders to ward off the cold as she sat next to a fire across the street from her apartment building.

As if to punctuate her fear, an aftershock set off shuddering and groaning sounds for blocks around.

"That's why we're here," she said.
01-03-2010 11:52 AM
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Bteam Offline

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Post: #7
Massive 8.8 Chilean Quake: Chile Quake Death Toll Hits 708 Quake Was 64 Times Strong
Chile Quake Death Toll Hits 708
Quake Was 64 Times Stronger Than Haiti's

Associated Press

6:25 AM PST, March 1, 2010
Firefighters work at the site of a collapsed building. (Natacha Pisarenko / Associated Press / February 28, 2010)
CONCEPCION, Chile -- Heroism and banditry mingled on Chile's shattered streets Sunday as rescuers braved aftershocks digging for survivors and the government sent soldiers and ordered a nighttime curfew to quell looting. The death toll climbed to 708 in one of the biggest earthquakes in centuries.

In the hard-hit city of Concepcion, firefighters pulling survivors from a toppled apartment block were forced to pause because of tear gas fired to stop looters, who were wheeling off everything from microwave ovens to canned milk at a damaged supermarket across the street.

Efforts to determine the full scope of destruction were undermined by an endless string of terrifying aftershocks that continued to turn buildings into rubble. Officials said 500,000 houses were destroyed or badly damaged, and President Michele Bachelet said "a growing number" of people were listed as missing.

"We are facing a catastrophe of such unthinkable magnitude that it will require a giant effort" to recover, Bachelet said after meeting for six hours with ministers and generals in La Moneda Palace, itself chipped and cracked.

She signed a decree giving the military control over security in the province of Concepcion, where looters were pillaging supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies and banks. Men and women hurried away with plastic containers of chicken, beef and sausages.

Virtually every market and supermarket had been looted -- and no food or drinking water could be found. Many people in Concepcion expressed anger at the authorities for not stopping the looting or bringing in supplies. Electricity and water services were out of service.

"We are overwhelmed," a police officer told The Associated Press.

Bachelet said a curfew was being imposed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and only security forces and other emergency personnel would be allowed on the streets. Police vehicles drove around announcing the curfew over loudspeakers.

As nightfall neared, hundreds of people put up tents and huddled around wood fires in parks and the grassy medians of avenues, too fearful to return to their homes amid continuing strong aftershocks.

Bachelet, who leaves office on March 11, said the country would accept some of the offers of aid that have poured in from around the world.

She said Chile needs field hospitals and temporary bridges, water purification plants and damage assessment experts -- as well as rescuers to help relieve workers who have been laboring frantically since the magnitude-8.8 quake struck before dawn Saturday.

To strip away any need for looting, Bachelet announced that essentials on the shelves of major supermarkets would be given away for free, under the supervision of authorities. Soldiers and police will also distribute food and water, she said.

Although houses, bridges and highways were damaged in Santiago, the national capital, a few flights managed to land at the airport and subway service resumed.

More chaotic was the region to the south, where the shaking was the strongest and where the quake generated waves that lashed coastal settlements, leaving behind sticks, scraps of metal and masonry houses ripped in two.

In the village of Lloca, a beachside carnival was caught in the tsunami. A carousel was twisted on its side and a ferris wheel rose above the muddy wreckage.

In Concepcion, the largest city in the disaster zone, a new, 15-story apartment building toppled onto its side. Many of those who lived on the side that wound up facing the sky could clamber out; those on the other were trapped. An estimated 60 people remained trapped in the 70-unit apartment building.

Police officer Jorge Guerra took names of the missing from a stream of tearful relatives and friends. He urged them to be optimistic because about two dozen people had been rescued.

"There are people alive. There are several people who are going to be rescued," he said -- though the next people pulled from the wreckage were dead.

Concepcion's main hospital was operating, though patients in an older half of the building were moved into hallways as a precaution.

Rescuers worked carefully for fear of aftershocks. Ninety jolts of magnitude 5 or greater shuddered across the region in the first 24 hours after the quake, including one nearly as large as the earthquake that devastated Haiti on Jan. 12.

Related links

Chile Earthquake: HOW YOU CAN HELP
İmage KTLA: Local Chileans Fear for Safety of Relatives in Chile KTLA: Local Chileans Fear for Safety of Relatives in Chile Video
Videos: Chile struck by one of strongest quakes ever Video
[Image: 52471463-01070151.jpg] Pictures: Earthquake in Chile Pictures: Earthquake in Chile Photos
[Image: 52472187-01070611.jpg] Photos: 8.8 earthquake rocks Chile Photos: 8.8 earthquake rocks Chile Photos
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[Image: 52472593-27061238-140110.jpg] USGS website: Chile earthquake USGS website: Chile earthquake
01-03-2010 12:32 PM
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