Update: Crews in Chile race to rescue quake survivors - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Update: World Health Org. says death toll expected to rise

UNDATED (AP) -- The World Health Organization says it expects the death toll to rise as communications improve in earthquake-ravaged Chile.

In Geneva, a U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman says Chile has requested specialized assistance. It needs include temporary bridges, field hospitals, satellite phones, electric generators, damage assessment teams, water purification systems, field kitchens and dialysis centers.

International aid has already started to flow. Argentina says it's sending six aircraft loaded with a field hospital, 55 doctors and water treatment plants. Brazil is sending a field hospital and rescue teams.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is bringing 20 satellite phones when she visits. It's the first part of a much larger U.S. aid package.

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CONCEPCION, Chile (AP) -- The mayor of the Chilean city of Concepcion says some food aid is arriving for survivors of the powerful weekend quake.

But electricity is still out, and water is scarce.

And looters have re-emerged, despite beefed-up security there and dozens of arrests. Groups of looters have been cleaning out stores selling food, clothing and drugs. They've fled when police arrived to drive them away.

Federal officials say the number of dead is up to 723, with 19 others missing.

In Concepcion, rescuers have continued their search through the ruins of a 70-unit apartment building, where they have heard the sound of knocking from trapped victims.

The U.N. says it's going to rush aid deliveries to Chile, after an appeal from that country's leader.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is planning to bring some communications equipment when she arrives in Chile tomorrow.

And Argentina says it's sending six aircraft loaded with a field hospital, dozens of doctors and water treatment plants.

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CONCEPCION, Chile (AP) -- Rescuers in a heavily-damaged Chilean city are hearing signs of life from an apartment building that was toppled by Saturday's earthquake.

Firefighters in Concepcion have already pulled 25 survivors from the building, and the bodies of eight people who died. They're still hearing knocking from people trapped inside, so they're drilling holes through thick walls, trying to reach them.

More than 700 people were killed by the powerful quake.

Looters have emptied nearly every store in Concepcion, the large city closest to the epicenter. And in hopes of preventing further looting, police and troops have started arresting people for violating a curfew. They've already taken dozens of people into custody. Still, at least a few looters re-emerged to take items from a market this morning.

The magnitude 8.8 quake -- one of the biggest in centuries -- destroyed or badly damaged 500,000 homes.

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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States is ready to work "in solidarity" with Chile's leaders to help the country recover from a devastating earthquake.

Clinton tells reporters traveling with her in Uruguay that Chile has asked for communications equipment. She says she'll take some with her when she travels to Santiago tomorrow.

Clinton said more help will likely come after that.

Earlier, U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons said he knew of no American deaths from the 8.8 earthquake, but stressed that officials are having a difficult time getting information from hard-hit areas.

He told CBS's "The Early Show" that officials have been able to contact "a few" of the estimated 1,000 Americans in Chile, but "information is still very, very scarce."

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CONCEPCION, Chile (AP) -- The governor of a region in Chile hard hit by Saturday's massive earthquake says security forces arrested 55 people overnight for violating curfew.

The curfew was imposed after looters sacked markets throughout the city of Concepcion.

The United Nations says it will rush aid to Chile. And, President Michelle Bachelet is promising imminent deliveries of food, water and shelter for thousands living on the streets.

The quake killed at least 708 people and destroyed or badly damaged 500,000 homes. Bachelet says a growing number of people have been reported missing.

Rescuers are searching for about 60 people in a toppled apartment building.

Some nearby coastal towns are almost obliterated, first shaken by the quake, then slammed by a tsunami.

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GENEVA (AP) -- The United Nations says it will rush aid deliveries to Chile after the government asked for help in its recovery from this weekend's massive earthquake.

U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs says Chile officially made its request Monday, two days after the 8.8-magnitude quake struck about 325 kilometers (200 miles) south of the capital, Santiago, and killed over 700 people.

Byrs told the AP that the global body was now "ready to take action."

Before the request, international aid groups had sent some funds and experts. But their action was limited as Chilean officials were busy assessing the destruction from the earthquake and the needs of up to 2 million affected people.

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CONCEPCION, Chile (AP) -- Chile's president says the massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake created "a catastrophe of such unthinkable magnitude that it will require a giant effort" to recover.

President Michelle Bachelet, who leaves office on March 11, says the country will accept some of the offers of aid that have poured in from around the world.

Bachelet has also signed a decree giving the military control over security in the province of Concepcion. Looters pillaged supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies and banks there. No food or drinking water can be found in the town.

Firefighters pulling survivors from a toppled apartment block today were forced to pause because of tear gas fired to stop looters.

Meanwhile, the death toll has climbed to 708.

Officials say 500,000 houses were destroyed or badly damaged.

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CONCEPCION, Chile (AP) -- Heroism and banditry mingle on Chile's earthquake shattered streets as rescuers brave aftershocks digging for survivors while looters pillage supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies and banks. The government has sent soldiers and ordered a nighttime curfew to quell looting.

In the hard-hit city of Concepcion, firefighters pulling survivors from a toppled apartment block today were forced to pause because of tear gas fired to stop looters.

Meanwhile, the death toll has climbed to 708.

Officials say 500,000 houses were destroyed or badly damaged in the magnitude 8.8 quake, and President Michele Bachelet says "a growing number" of people are listed as missing. She says Chile is facing "a catastrophe of such unthinkable magnitude that it will require a giant effort" to recover.

Bachelet says the country would accept some of the offers of aid that have poured in from around the world.

 

 

Clinton tells reporters traveling with her in Uruguay that Chile has asked for communications equipment. She says she'll take some with her when she travels to Santiago tomorrow.

Clinton said more help will likely come after that.

Earlier, U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons said he knew of no American deaths from the 8.8 earthquake, but stressed that officials are having a difficult time getting information from hard-hit areas.

He told CBS's "The Early Show" that officials have been able to contact "a few" of the estimated 1,000 Americans in Chile, but "information is still very, very scarce."

 

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