Another Day, Another Natural Disaster

A magnitude-8.8 earthquake — one of the largest ever recorded — struck Chile early Saturday. The epicenter was located about 200 miles southwest of Santiago, the country’s capital, and was felt 1,800 miles away in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The quake was so massive, even the Oregon Coast is facing a tsunami warning today.

Various sources are saying the quake was anywhere from 50 to 1,000 times stronger than the one that struck Haiti last month, killing over 230,000 people. The death toll is not expected to rise that high, but from the photographs I’m seeing, the devastation is widespread and will be a major blow to the country’s infrastructure.

The initial quake was the fifth-strongest ever recorded since the practice began in 1900. Thirty-three aftershocks have been recorded since 3:34 a.m. local time, and at one point, five of 11 aftershocks were measured at 7.0 or higher. To give you a better idea, the earthquake that rocked Haiti was a 7.0.

It should be interesting to see what kind of response Chile receives from American and the rest of the global community. This is already the second major natural disaster of 2010. With the global economy on thin ice, how much aide can country’s continue to provide given the rate and scope of these disasters?

My thoughts go out to anyone — including one of my co-workers — who has family and friends in Chile.

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