Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Fatal Earthquake Hits Chile

This past Saturday, one of the biggest earthquakes in recorded history rocked Chile, killing more than 700 people. Untold numbers are missing and 2 million are displaced or wounded.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said the death toll had jumped to 708 on Sunday, increasing sharply as rescue crews reached remote towns and were able to survey the damage. The quake was recorded at 8.8 on the Richter scale and hit before dawn on Saturday morning, toppling buildings and rendering many of the country’s roads impassable.

The 8.8 quake toppled buildings, buckled freeways and set off sirens thousands of miles away as governments scrambled to prepare coastal residents from potential tsunamis. Authorities lifted tsunami warnings Sunday after smaller-than-feared waves washed shores from Southern California to Hawaii and Japan.

Looting broke out Sunday in some of the most heavily damaged areas of Chile, where residents were without water or electricity. Crowds overran supermarkets in the port city of Concepcion, which sustained widespread damage, and were making off with not only food, water and diapers but also television sets. Several banks also were hit. Police in armored vehicles sprayed looters with water cannons and made several arrests, mostly of young men.

“The people are desperate and say the only way is to come get stuff for themselves,” Concepcion resident Patricio Martinez told reporters. “We have money to buy it, but the big stores are closed, so what are we supposed to do?”

President Obama called President Michelle Bachelet shortly after the earthquake to offer his sympathies and the support of the U.S. government and its resources, should they be requested.  “We have resources that are positioned to deploy, should the Chilean government ask for our help,” President Obama said after speaking with Bachelet on Saturday.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who for several weeks has been scheduled to visit the region, will arrive in Santiago on Tuesday.  She is expected to reiterate the Administration’s offer of support for Chile and its people.

L.A. Times

Washington Post


  1. Thanks for posting this. I am from Chile and I appreciate that you featured this.