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Unstrange Phenomena

28 February 2010

8.8 Chilean Earthquake 500 Times More Powerful than Haiti

From Denny: Yesterday, the country of Chile experienced a mind-numbing 8.8 magnitude earthquake. It tore apart over 1.5 million homes, bridges and highways in central Chile. Over 90 aftershocks followed. The 8.8 earthquake was felt 1,800 miles away in Sao Paulo, Brazil to the east.

In the capitol city of Santiago, 200 miles away and to the northeast from the epicenter (which was out at sea off the coast), there was damage:

Santiago airport with smashed windows, collapsed walkways, torn ceilings
Fine Arts Museum, badly damaged
several hospitals, no details as to damage

Chile's main seaport, in Valparaiso about 75 miles from Santiago:

two oil refineries shut down production - to restart large plants like this can take a month.
copper mines shut down production

The city of Concepcion was hardest hit along with the major port city of Talcahuano. With a major port damaged like this it could be difficult to get supplies to those most in need.

Haiti's was a 7.0 magnitude. The point spread doesn't sound like much until you realize that the difference is 500 times greater in ferocity. It's amazing any buildings are standing and more people were not killed. Right now that's about 708 in estimates because the Chilean Navy did not warn coastal villagers of an impending tsunami right after the earthquake. They did not have time to flee to the hills and many died needlessly.

Chile's coastal areas devastated by the large waves:

San Juan Bautista village on Robinson Crusoe Island
The port of Talcahuano
Vichato in the BioBio region

The surge of Pacific Ocean water affected 53 nations as they posted tsunami warnings. Hawaii dodged the negative effects of tsunami waves but they were prepared. They warned and evacuated for the "just in case" scenario. Hilo International Airport was closed as a precaution because it is located on the shore.

By today, it was estimated that over two million people have been displaced from their homes. They have not yet given figues on how many businesses are shut down and how many people are out of work. Like in Haiti, these may prove to be dire times for Chile. Why does the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, not accept immediate help from other countries like America who are standing by with rescue teams and relief efforts? As it has proven difficult in Haiti to setup and feed three million displaced people, so it will prove a problem in Chile in the coming weeks. It's best to jump on that problem now rather than wait.

For those with electricity in Chile, this is the news they awoke to find about the earthquake, raw news footage:

Assessing the damage done to historical sites:

From ITN News an aerial view of the devastation:

Here is video of looting. Do you think these people watched all the news coverage about Haiti and realized it will be weeks - if ever - before help arrives? Most people would loot for food and supplies too, knowing help may not come in time.

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