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UN Mobilizing Aid for Chile

The United Nations says it is mobilizing assistance for Chile, after a magnitude 8.8 earthquake rocked the South American country on Saturday, killing more than 700 people and affecting some two million others.

Alicia Barcena, the top U.N. official in Latin America, said the Chilean government had requested very specific assistance from the world body.

"The government has concretely requested mobile bridges, field hospitals, satellite phones, electric generators, salt water purification systems, field camps, autonomous dialysis centers, field kitchens and restaurants," she said.

Barcena told reporters in New York via a telephone link, that the U.N. had already sent 45 satellite phones that would arrive in Santiago on Tuesday.

Additionally, the World Food Program is awaiting the government's acceptance of its offer of 30 tons of food. The food is in a warehouse in Ecuador.

Barcena said many regional governments are also moving quickly to send help.

"There are many governments that are already mobilizing help. We are talking here about the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Mexico - many of these governments are already sending, for example, field hospitals, very well equipped with personnel included," said Barcena.

The United States has also offered disaster assistance. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is traveling in the region and said she would bring some telecommunications equipment with her when she makes a brief visit to Chile on Tuesday.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has said the 8.8-magnitude earthquake is an emergency "unparalleled in the history of Chile."