March 17, 2010 : Chile experienced an 8.8-magnitude on February 27, 2010. Around 700 people lost their lives. This was the fifth strongest earthquake recorded in the world since 1900. The quake struck near Concepcion, Chile’s second largest city, where thousands of people were holidaying over the weekend. In neighbouring Argentina, houses and power lines collapsed. There were three tsunami waves that rose at least four metres (13 feet) along Chile’s coastline.
By March 12, 2010, there had already been over 300 aftershocks from the quake. Of these, over 200 were greater than 5.0 in magnitude. This slowed down the reconstruction process considerably. President Sebastian Pinera said it would cost at least $30billion to rebuild the country. Around 300,000 houses, hospitals, schools and roads needed to be rebuilt. Some of the work would be paid for with the income earned from copper exports. Chile is the world’s biggest producer of copper.
Chile and Haiti: The Chile quake was 500 times the intensity of the quake that hit Haiti some weeks ago in January. In Haiti more than 200,000 people died, but only 700 in Chile.
Chile lies along what is called the “Ring of Fire”, a line of frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions that circles almost all the lands around the Pacific Ocean. Since Chile is prone to huge earthquakes its people are aware of what to do at the first signs of one. This is one of the reasons why the losses there were not as devastating as they were in Haiti. The biggest earthquake ever recorded struck Chile in 1960. With a magnitude of 9.5, it killed 5,000 people and made 2 million homeless. Since then, Chile’s government has enforced very strict building codes.
Turkey: Early on March 8, 2010, an earthquake of 6.0 magnitude killed over 50 people. The Prime Minister of that country said most of the deaths were because of poor building standards.
Chile: Where is it? Click here to see it on the map
Chile: Country profile
What is the Ring of Fire?
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Read about the Haiti earthquake