The Pan American Health Organization released a new assessment of the Chile earthquake this morning that contains some facts and figures about the destruction wrought by the 8.8 magnitude quake and its several aftershocks. At least 700 people are confirmed killed, though that number is likely to rise. The report also notes ominously that there are “silent areas” in which, so far there has been no news.
– The quake’s major impact was on infrastructure. An estimated 500,000 homes have been seriously damaged. It is believed that adobe structures will be most affected and indigenous populations most at risk. Access to health services will be a major challenge.
– A significant number of ‘silent areas‘ (no information on status) exist. Over the next 24-48 hours more accurate information on the extent of damage in rural, isolated areas should be available.
– The earthquake generated some tsunami activity. State television quoted emergency officials as saying that 350 people were killed in the coastal town of Constitución, Chile, which was hit by the tsunami. In addition, in the coastal city of Concepción (hard hit by the earthquake itself), several hundred people may have been washed away by the tsunami. The threat appears to have passed and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center called off the warning on Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross has launched and appeal and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is on stand-by mode, ready to help should the government of Chile request assistance.
Via Russia Today, some CCTV video of the earthquake as it hit. And from the World Food Program, a map of the earthquake, aftershocks and resulting Tsunamis in the pacific region–from New Zealand to Japan.
Finally, this image set of the earthquake’s aftermath from Flickr user Rodrigo Linfati is incredibly compelling. I strongly urge folks to scroll through his photos. Images like these help give some perpsective to a disaster of this scale. (The image used for the this post comes from that set)