Why did Chile's more powerful quake take fewer lives?

Miami HeraldFebruary 27, 2010 

At least 214 people are dead after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck Chile Saturday — and more people are missing after enormous waves reached land, the head of the country's emergency services said Saturday.

Television images showed a collapsed highway with upturned cars and a collapsed 15-story apartment building. The Llacolén bridge that connected the southern city of Concepción and San Pedro de la Paz collapsed.

The Housing Minister estimated that 1.5 million homes were damaged, 500,000 of them severely. Damages to the international airport in Santiago forced officials to close it for at least three days.

The epicenter of the quake was offshore near Maule, the U.S. Geological Survey said, some 70 miles northeast of Concepción. Tsunami warnings were issued throughout the Pacific, and people in lowland and coastal areas in Hawaii were evacuated.

But the waves that reached Hawaii did no damage. Read the story here.

And despite the widespread damage, the quake — 500 times more powerful than the quake the struck Haiti in January — took many fewer lives. That's because wealthier Chile was better prepared than Haiti for a quake.

Read the Miami Herald's coverage of the quake.

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