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Death toll rises in Chile earthquake, curfew extended

2010-03-03 09:11 BJT

Special Report: 8.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Chile |

SANTIAGO, March 2 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in the 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile early Saturday morning continued to rise in the latest official figure released Tuesday, and the authorities extended the length and scope of a curfew to maintain social order.

Chilean military officers search survivors in the debris in Concepcion on March 2. The death toll in the devastating earthquake has risen to 795, according to the latest official statistics. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Chilean military officers search survivors in the debris in Concepcion on
March 2. The death toll in the devastating earthquake has risen to 795,
according to the latest official statistics. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said that the death toll from the devastating earthquake had reached 795. Local media reported that Bachelet was speaking during a visit to Curico, one of the hardest-hit cities in the quake.  

The president's figure was 32 higher than that released by the country's National Office of Emergency earlier in the day.

According to the office, the number of affected still stood at 2 million, or one eighth of the country's total population. Most of the deaths were registered in the Maule region with at least 554 people dead. Some 92 deaths were registered at the Bio Bio region; 48 deaths in the O'Higgins province; 18 deaths in the city of Valparaiso; and 13 deaths in the region of La Araucania.

In the capital city of Santiago, which has a population of 6.2 million, 38 people were known to have died in the quake.

The authorities extended a curfew on the town of Concepcion from 15 hours to 18 hours until Tuesday noon, and added three towns, Talca, Cauquenes and Constitucion, onto the curfew list to suppress looting.

Raping and violent activities have increased following the quake, which has disrupted power and water supply in some hard-hit areas.

During the last few days, the lack of power, drinking water and food caused panic among residents in Concepcion, triggering looting in supermarkets and food stores.

The situation in the city quickly deteriorated to the point that stores were looted even with the presence of the owners.

Angry survivors set fire to shops after looting their contents in Concepcion, Chile's second largest city, and other towns along the coast.