Rescuers pull out 79 survivors from collapsed building in Chile

15:24, March 03, 2010      

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Rescuers are busy on the site of a collapsed building in Concepcion, southern Chile, on March 2, 2010. There are still seven people buried in the ruins here. The 8.8-magnitude devastating earthquake which hit Chile on Saturday has killed at least 763 people, reports quoted Chile's emergency office as saying on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Song Weiwei)

Rescuers Tuesday pulled out 79 survivors and seven bodies from the debris of a collapsed apartment building in Concepcion.

Concepcion, located on the Pacific coast in southwestern Chile, is the worst-hit city in Saturday's massive earthquake, which has left nearly 800 people dead.

Firefighter commander Juan Carlos Subercaseaux told the press that there were six occupants still missing.

The eight-story building in downtown Concepcion, which was put into use last year and had 80 apartments, was reduced to a pile of rubble about three stories high by the quake and rescuers had feared most of the trapped occupants might have died.

Subercaseaux, whose team just returned from Haiti, attributed the magic survival of such a large number of trapped occupants to the quake-proof design of the building, which is able to keep much space inside the rubble after the building falls down.

To crack down on looting in the city, the second largest in the country, the Chilean government Tuesday extended a curfew from 15 hours to 18 hours until Tuesday noon.

The authorities also added three towns, Talca, Cauquenes and Constitucion, onto the curfew list to suppress looting.

Raping and violent activities have increased following the quake, which has disrupted power and water supply in the hardest-hit towns of Concepcion and Talca.

During the last few days, the lack of power, drinking water and food caused panic among residents in Concepcion, triggering looting in supermarkets and food stores.

The situation in the city quickly deteriorated to the point that stores were looted even with the presence of the owners.

Source: Xinhua
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