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Red Cross: Chilean Quake Survivors in Desperate Need of Shelter

The Red Cross has issued a revised emergency appeal for Chile, saying tens of thousands of families left homeless by last month's earthquake are in desperate need of shelter ahead of the upcoming rainy season.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has doubled its request for donations to help survivors of the massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake. It is now appealing for $13 million; last week it asked for $6.4 million.

Spokeswoman Marie-Francoise Borel tells VOA she was stunned at the extent of damage to homes and infrastructure. She says there is a critical need for wooden transitional shelters, which are more solid than tents, ahead of the rainy season. Borel says many of the displaced are living in tents.

The government says the February 27 earthquake killed more than 500 people, though it has been struggling to come up with an accurate death toll.

The quake affected an estimated 2 million people in Chile and caused serious damage to some 500,000 houses.

The Red Cross says the money it raises will support the Chilean Red Cross in providing supplies, health care, water, sanitation and shelter during the next year.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to brief the General Assembly on the situation in Chile on Wednesday. Mr. Ban visited Chile last week to assess the damage.