Chile begins mourning quake dead

Chile begins mourning quake dead

People take part in a prayer session in a camp for earthquake victims in Caleta Tumbes, Chile, Saturday March 6, 2010. AP

But more than a week after the devastating 8.8-magnitude tremor that hit central Chile on February 27, officials were still struggling to establish an accurate death toll.
The official toll was initially set at 802 people, but that was subsequently revised down to 452 confirmed deaths after it was discovered that in some areas people who were simply missing had been listed as dead.

Emergency workers meanwhile, were struggling to cope with additional problems caused by a series of strong after-shocks as well as dealing with the devastation wrought by the original quake.

Some half a million homes were destroyed by the earthquake and sanitary conditions for many still living on the streets have become a growing concern."We have cases of gastroenteritis, respiratory problems, and we've had heart problems due to fears caused by recent aftershocks," doctor Carlos Barra, working in a health centre near Concepcion, told AFP.

But despite all the devastation, life was slowly beginning to return to normal.
Vaccinations against hepatitis and tetanus had started in the town of Constitucion, said deputy interior minister Patricio Rosende.

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