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EU Stands Ready to Provide Immediate Aid to Earthquake-stricken Chile

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The European Union said Saturday that it stands ready to provide immediate assistance for earthquake-stricken Chile.

Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said the commission is assessing the situation and stands ready to coordinate European efforts "should that be required."

"I want to first offer my condolences to the families of those who have been effected by this natural disaster," Georgieva, who had been following the news of the Chilean earthquake overnight, said in a statement.

"I have immediately activated the crisis room at the Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre which is working with the EU's delegation in Santiago," the commissioner said. "I have mobilized humanitarian experts to undertake urgent needs assessments if required."

The commission has a regional humanitarian aid office in Managua as well as offices in Bogota and Quito, the statement said.

So far, at least 78 people have been confirmed killed in the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled the country early Saturday.

(Xinhua News Agency February 28, 2010)

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