Chile Quake Toll 795, Likely to Rise

SANTIAGO, Chile, March 2 (UPI) — The death toll has reached 795 from Saturday’s 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile and the government said Tuesday that number likely will rise.

Officials said they expect to find more victims as search-and-rescue crews dig under the rubble. An estimated 2 million people have lost their homes and more than 90 aftershocks have been recorded, ranging from 4.9 to 6.9 in magnitude.

President Michelle Bachelet said looting and lawlessness seen in the city of Concepcion and other areas affected by the quake won’t be tolerated and violators would be subject to the “full force of the law,” CNN reported.

“We have seen images that are, frankly, intolerable,” Bachelet said during a news conference Tuesday. “We want to make it clear that it won’t be accepted.”

Stores were ransacked in Concepcion as soldiers stood guard nearby and residents set up armed security committees.

“What worries us the most today is to provide security and tranquility to the nation,” Bachelet said. “We ask for understanding and patience because the aid will arrive.”

More than 13,000 soldiers are being deployed to secure order, Bachelet said. Trucks and other vehicles carrying some of the aid were getting backed up at a military checkpoint about 12 miles outside of Concepcion, CNN reported.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Santiago, Chile’s capital, Tuesday as part of her scheduled trip through Latin America. Clinton brought 20 satellite phones and a technician, part of the aid the United States will provide to Chile.

Chile’s ambassador to the United States, Jose Goni, said top priorities for U.S. aid include field hospitals, power generators, water-purification plants, rescue teams, medical crews and equipment, and temporary infrastructure for people in need, CNN said.

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Categorized | Earthquakes, Infrastructure
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