News / Americas

Strong Aftershock Shakes Chile

Location of Friday's aftershock off the coast of Chile, 05 Mar 2010
Location of Friday's aftershock off the coast of Chile, 05 Mar 2010

Another strong aftershock has jolted Chile, nearly a week after the deadly 8.8 magnitude earthquake caused widespread destruction in the South American country.

In the badly-hit city of Concepcion, some residents ran into the streets Friday as the magnitude 6.6 tremor shook the area.  There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.  Concepcion was the city closest to the epicenter of the February 27 quake.

Dozens of aftershocks have been reported since the initial quake occurred.

Meanwhile, Chile's ambassador to the United Nations says last week's earthquake cost the nation's economy $30 billion and will cost at least that much to rebuild.

In a briefing with reporters Friday at U.N. headquarters in New York, Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz said the agriculture and wine industry alone lost $280 million in the initial earthquake.  He said the fishing industry took a hard hit as well, with entire fishing villages wiped out.

The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, was also at the briefing to represent what she said was the commitment of the international community to helping Chile.  She said that next month, she would bring a group of wealthy donors to Chile in an effort to raise money for reconstruction.

Muñoz said a telethon would be held in Chile late Friday and into Saturday to raise funds for relief efforts.

Muñoz said he believes visiting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon may participate in the event.

Mr. Ban was expected to meet Friday in Santiago with President Michelle Bachelet and President-elect Sebastian Pinera, who takes office March 11.  Mr. Ban also was expected to visit Concepcion.

Ambassador Muñoz said there are signs the nation is recuperating.  He said the capital, Santiago, is operating almost normally. He also noted that while Concepcion is still in bad shape, 58 percent of the city's automatic teller machines are operational.

Chile Thursday declared a three-day mourning period to remember those lost in last Saturday's quake.  The official death toll stands at 802, but the ambassador says the figure will be lowered because in some places the missing were counted as dead.  

President Bachelet has said it could take at least three or four years to rebuild the country.


 

Some of the information in this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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