Korea offers ‘all-out support’ to quake-hit Chile

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Korea offers ‘all-out support’ to quake-hit Chile

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Residents look at a collapsed building in Concepcion on Saturday, the country’s second-largest city, after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile. [AP/YONHAP]

The Korean government yesterday offered “all-out support” after Chile was struck by a massive, 8.8-magnitude earthquake on Saturday, and expressed its sympathy to the South American nation.

President Lee Myung-bak yesterday sent a telegram to Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to offer his “heartfelt condolences” to the people of Chile and his hope that Chile would be back on its feet as soon as possible.

“The Korean government and its people are prepared to offer all-out support to help [Chile] overcome these devastating times” Lee added.

The casualty toll was virtually certain to rise as the day wore on. As of noon yesterday, Korean time, Chilean officials told foreign news wires that at least 300 people had been killed by the earthquake, which struck near Concepcion, a city some 300 miles southwest of the capital, Santiago.

The Foreign Ministry in Seoul said yesterday it held an emergency meeting with relevant government agencies to discuss the government’s relief aid plan for Chile.

“Chile is one of our closer allies and our exchanges have been expanding, especially in the economy,” the ministry said. “The exact size of our aid will be determined after taking into account the level of support from the rest of the world. We will decide whether to send a rescue unit after further consultations with the Chilean government.”

No date has been set for that consultation as yet, the ministry said.

The ministry added: “Our rescue and medical workers are all prepared to fly out as soon as the decision is made to dispatch them to Chile.”

The ministry confirmed the safety of all 13 Koreans living in Concepcion. There are about 2,200 Koreans residing in Chile overall.

In the aftermath of the quake, the Japan Meteorological Agency ordered more than 50,000 people in the northern part of Japan to evacuate on a tsunami warning. The agency said waves of up to three meters (10 feet) could strike northern areas of Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi, and also the entire Pacific coastline of the Japanese archipelago.


By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]


Related Korean Article

칠레 8.8 강진, 최소 300명 사망 … 5.0 이상 여진 90여 차례



칠레 서쪽 태평양 연안에서 지난달 27일 오전 3시34분(현지시간) 규모 8.8의 강진이 발생해 28일 오후 현재 300명 이상이 숨졌다. 역대 일곱 번째 규모다. 무너진 건물 더미에서 사망자가 잇따라 발견되는 등 피해 규모는 커지고 있다. 1월 12일 아이티에서 규모 7.0 지진으로 23만 명이 숨진 데 이어 1개월여 만에 지구촌 재앙이 이어졌다. 칠레 대지진은 아이티 지진보다 500배의 위력을 지녔으나 사망자는 적을 것으로 AP 등 외신들은 내다봤다. 현재까지 밝혀진 한인 피해자는 없다고 칠레 주재 한국대사관은 밝혔다.

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