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Brazil Mulls Quake Relief for Chile

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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Monday that he will discuss with his Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet how to assist the quake-hit country with international aid.

During his weekly radio talk, the president said he had attempted to communicate with Bachelet but could not reach her due to communication problems.

"We tried to talk with President Michelle Bachelet, but there was a telephone problem. We will do everything in our power to show solidarity with Chile, as we are expressing solidarity with Haiti," the Brazilian president said.

Chile was hit on Saturday by an 8.8-magnitude megaquake which has so far claimed the lives of more than 700 people and forced tens of thousands of people to stay in the open for fear of strong aftershocks.

"Chile has an advantage in that it is a better structured country, which has been historically living with earthquakes. Civil defense is better prepared, the country is richer. But we will help if it is necessary. It depends on the conversation with President Bachelet in the coming days. We will send teams to discuss what she needs," said Lula.

As he heard the news of the earthquake, the Brazilian president asked his Cabinet of Institutional Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to carry out an initial evaluation of the situation and of the potential assistance measures to be taken by Brazil.

(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2010)

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