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Feature: Chilean city reborn after 2010 quake and tsunami


13:33, February 26, 2013

CONSTITUCION, Chile, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The 8.8-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that hit the coast of central Chile in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 27, 2010, has left swaths of death and destruction in the city of Constitucion, but three years on, its future looks promising.

Home to 46,000 people, where most make a living on farming, fishing and tourism, Constitucion was battered by large waves that killed some 100 residents and devastated coastal buildings.

That night, nature's force razed the traditional hotels and restaurants that hosted thousands of tourists each year. One of the 10 strongest quakes ever recorded, the jolt destroyed about 222,000 homes and caused nearly 30 billion U.S. dollars in damage.

Most of the people killed in Constitucion were Chilean tourists on Orrego Island at the mouth of the Maule River.

The government has expropriated the island and Maule's riverside to build a buffer-zone park to avoid destruction in case of a new tsunami.

Post-quake reconstruction has also been a chance for local citizens to live better.

"The reconstruction process has been a success, because it took into account people's opinions in the selection of their new homes," Clarisa Ayala Arena, Maule Region housing director, told Xinhua.

Some 95 million U.S. dollars were allocated for housing, out of a total reconstruction budget of 150 million dollars for the city. The rest went to the park and streets near the river that will serve as evacuation routes.

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