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Brazilian Aid for Chile Includes Field Hospitals, Portable Bridges

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Brazil will help Chile's earthquake relief efforts by sending field hospitals, medical equipment and portable bridges, a Chilean diplomat said on Monday.

Chilean Ambassador to Brazil Alvaro Diaz Perez told Brazil's official news agency that the Brazilian aid will be coordinated by both governments to assist the victims of the 8.8-magnitude quake, which ravaged Chile early Saturday and killed at least 723 people.

He said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva tried to talk to his Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet on Monday morning, but couldn't reach her by phone due to technical problems.

Soon after the quake, the diplomat said, Lula ordered his security team and the foreign ministry to make initial assessments of the situation and assistance measures to be taken by Brazil.

Perez said that the top priority now is to take care of injured people and to recover the bodies buried under the debris.

"Food and bottled water are not necessary," he said.

"What we need are field hospitals, rescue equipment, support for the power generation system and structures for modular bridges," said the ambassador, adding that the issue is being discussed with the Brazilian cabinet.

The diplomat said there has been no reports of Brazilian victims from the disaster.

"I ask Brazilians who are in Chile and want to go home as well as Chileans who are in Brazil and want to return home to be confident, " he said, adding that "everything will be solved and the whole system will be rebuilt."

He also noted that Chile has a sovereign fund of US$1.8 billion from copper exports, which it can be used in crises like this.

(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2010)

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