Sunday, February 28, 2010

Death Toll From Chilean Earthquake Tops 700

The death toll from the massive 8.8 quake that struck off the coast of Chile has topped 700, and the toll is expected to rise. It is quite the contrast between the death toll in the Chilean quake and those of two other massive quakes to hit in recent years. The Haitian quake killed upwards of 200,000 for a magnitude 7 quake, while the Indonesian quake registered a 9.0 and killed 230,000 in the quake and resulting tsunami that hit more than 45 countries.

There was a tsunami caused by the Chilean quake, but it was nowhere near the magnitude of those seen by the Indonesian quake, although some communities near the epicenter were badly damaged.

Part of that has to do with good fortune that the quake was not focused near the most heavily populated areas of Chile and the nature of the quake itself, but part had to do with the modern building codes enacted following a devastating 1960 quake (which also spawned a deadly tsunami that struck Hilo, Hawaii).

That doesn't mean that Chile is in the clear; many parts of the country suffered serious damage, including damage to key infrastructure.

The US will be available to provide humanitarian aid, and Secretary of State Clinton will be heading to the region to monitor the situation.

No comments: