Chile's new president praises heroes in earthquake

13:26, March 12, 2010      

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Newly inaugurated Chilean President Sebastian Pinera praised Thursday some ordinary citizens as heroes in the Feb.-27 earthquake that seriously damaged the country.

In his first speech as the Chilean president, Pinera especially mentioned the names of two children.

Martina Maturana, 12, living on one of the Juan Fernandez Islands, struck the warning bell after hearing the sound of tsunami following a strong earthquake, thus wakening hundreds of sleeping residents to save their lives.

Vicente Ramirez, the first baby born during the quake, was called by President Pinera "the audacity to be born" in the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that killed about 500 people and made one million others homeless.

"Every generation has its challenge and we have the most beautiful challenge of deciding what kind of nation our children will live in," Pinera said when referring to the efforts made by the government and its people to rebuild the country after the quake.

The Chilean president also called on citizens to "unite as one" to make greater reconstruction efforts.

Source: Xinhua
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