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Experts: Chile's Earthquake 50 Times Stronger Than Haiti's

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Science Chief of the Seismology Institute of the University of Chile, Sergio Barrientos said on Saturday that the 8.8-degrees earthquake that shook Chile on Saturday morning was "50 times bigger than the one of Haiti."

The earthquake occurred at 3:34 AM local time. The epicenter was only 115 km from Concepcion, Chile's second-largest city with a population of 200,000 people and it was felt 1,600 kilometers away.

According to local TV channel TVN, in Concepcion "there are no streets without rubble" and the regional hospital "began to evacuate the patients for the fear of it collapsing."

Press reports said that government building of Concepcion completely collapsed, as well as hundreds of houses.

Concepcion's capital was completely isolated.

Chilean Interior Ministry Edmundo Perez Yoma said that there are serious communication problems in Concepcion.

"We have had many problems, and the deaths continue rising," Perez added.

Meanwhile, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet urged the people to be calmed and has sent three rescue teams to the affected area and decreed many areas of the country as catastrophe zones.

She also said that at least 85 people have been killed in the earthquake.

(Xinhua News Agency February 28, 2010)

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