The Impact of the Chilean Earthquake of 2010: Challenging the Capabilities of the Neoliberal State
by Kirsten Sehnbruch
On February 27, 2010, at 3:34 a.m., an 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit the regions of El Maule and Bío Bío in southern Chile and was followed by a devastating tsunami. The earthquake has been ranked as the sixth-strongest in recorded history and caused instant chaos and devastation that led to the loss of 575 lives. The economic losses are estimated to be in the range of US$30 billion, equivalent to 18 percent of Chile’s gross domestic product. Entire cities and especially coastal towns were significantly damaged. The most severe destruction was registered in the cities of Concepción, Constitución, Talcahuano, and Talca, approximately 400 miles south of Chile’s capital, Santiago. During the hours following the earthquake President Michelle Bachelet declared a state of catastrophe and sent troops to take control of the most affected areas.
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