Chile quake death toll hit 723

2010-03-02 08:23 BJT

Special Report: 8.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Chile |

It has been more than two days since the 8.8-magnitude earthquake devastated parts of Chile. The death toll has risen to 723, while 19 others are still missing. President Michelle Bachelet described the situation as "an emergency without parallel in the country's history."

Houses were demolished after the quake and an ensuing tsunami. An endless string of terrifying aftershocks have turned more buildings into rubble, forcing many more people into the streets. Shocked survivors have been left without power, water or food.

A local resident said, "We need more food. More food and water. Let us not run out of that. We call on the authorities to make their presence known in this place, to not leave us so alone. Yesterday the children were crying because they were hungry, they were tearing their hair out, and there wasn't anything to give them."

In Concepcion, the largest city closest to the epicenter, police have arrested 55 people for violating a curfew imposed after looters sacked nearly every market in town. However, many looters have explained that the total lack of food forced them to steal.

A local resident said, "This is what we need - food. Because I am not going to eat a pair of shoes or anything like that, so everybody will have to do what they have to do."

Also in the city, firefighters pulled 25 survivors and eight bodies from the wreckage of a 15-story building on Monday. Rescuers heard the knock of trapped victims inside the toppled 70-unit apartment building and began to drill through thick walls to reach them.

Editor: Zhang Ning | Source: