SANTIAGO Chile’s government set to work on Monday repairing roads and restoring electricity to southern regions affected by a major earthquake that struck on Christmas Day, frightening thousands but resulting in no fatalities or major damage.
The quake, a magnitude 7.6 centered off Chiloe Island northwest of Patagonia, caused thousands in the tourism and salmon farming region to evacuate to higher ground amid fears of a tsunami. A tsunami never materialized however and, thanks to strict building codes in the earthquake-prone nation, structural damage was light. By Sunday night, almost all Chileans had returned to their homes.
The quake did, however, cause at least one bridge collapse, cut power to 21,000 Chileans, and severed sections of the island’s major highway.
“There are zones with landslides and cutoffs,” Chilean Public Works Minister Alberto Undurraga said in televised remarks, adding that it will take two to seven days to make the needed repairs to the area’s highways.
“All of our teams are on the island to re-establish connectivity, which is the main aspect that has affected the island. The rest is functioning normally, the cities are working.”
Chile’s energy minister, Andres Rebolledo, said on