Peru offers construction material to aid Chile

09:57, March 01, 2010      

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President Alan Garcia said Sunday that Peru will provide Chile with construction material to help it repair the damage caused by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the country early Saturday morning.

"In the same way that Peru has received aid from other countries on previous occasions, including Chile, during the earthquake in Ica, which killed 596 and destroyed 70,000 houses. Now it is our time to return that aid," Garcia said, quoted by local media.

"We are waiting for the Chilean government to tell us what it needs, if medicines or construction material. We have iron-steel plants that can give them construction materials," Garcia said during a visit to a school.

Garcia said that to the moment his government has not received any request from the Chilean government. However, he said, his government will be waiting to the requests that Chile will make once it finishes registering the damage.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said on Sunday the death toll from the large earthquake has reached 708 and was likely to increase as rescue operations went on. Over 2 million people were affected by the temblor and more than 1.5 million buildings were damaged or destroyed.

Some estimates put the total damage at between 15 billion U.S. dollars and 30 billion U.S. dollars, equal to 10 percent to 20 percent of Chile's gross domestic product.

In the hardest-hit town of Concepcion, 115 kilometers from the epicenter of the quake, which is off the coast of Maule region, the whole downtown area was razed to the ground.

Also on Sunday, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Polish President Lech Kaczynski offered support and condolences to the Chilean government and people.


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