Earthquake Recovery Continues in Chile

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WASHINGTON - The death toll has exceeded 700 after Saturday's massive 8.8 earthquake in the South American nation of Chile.

Scores of aftershocks have since rocked the country and more than a million homes have been damaged or destroyed.

Now thousands of people are living on the street desperate for just the basics like food and water.

You can help people hurt by disasters by clicking here to give to Operation Blessing Disaster Relief. 

Quake 'Unprecedented Emergency' in Chile's History

Chileans woke up to three aftershocks Monday as the death toll continues rise.

"The scale of the disaster is huge," Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said.

Freelance reporter Carlos Hernandez Herrera joined CBN News' Morning program to talk more about the aftermath of Saturday's 8.8 magnitude earthquake. Click here for his comments.

The outgoing president called it an "unprecedented emergency in the history of Chile."

Bachelet ordered troops to help deliver food, water and blankets to the survivors, many of whom camped out in tents instead of their homes in fear that their buildings would collapse.

The president also sent troops in to the city of Concepcion to crack down on looters who broke into stores and grabbed anything they could get their hands on.

But one woman said the plundering was born out of necessity. She has a baby, but no bread and no water.

"We need to do this," she said.

Battered Infrastructure Hampers Search and Rescue

Meanwhile, many areas across the region don't have electricity.

Additionally, badly battered roads and broken bridges have hampered the search and rescue effort for survivors.

Col. Jorge Concha of the Chilean Army expressed the belief that many who are missing are trapped under the rubble after the earthquake triggered a tsunami tidal wave in a coastal town.

One earthquake survivor said he's been looking for his wife, but has been unable to find her anywhere.

Pope to Survivors: Be Courageous

On Sunday, toppled churches sat empty, while prayers were offered around the world.

"My thoughts go to Chile and to the population hit by the quake that caused several losses of human life and serious damage," said Pope Benedict who urged survivors to be courageous.

As many as 90 aftershocks have rocked the region in the first 24 hours after the quake, including one nearly as large as the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January.

But Chile has a history of major earthquakes from the 1960s and 1980s that helped the country be better prepared.

"The Chile earthquake was much bigger," said Paul Caruso of the U.S. Geological Survey. "It released 500 times as much energy, but it was at a greater depth and it was farther from population centers."

Saturday's quake serves as a fresh reminder of the volatile Pacific Ring of Fire - a series of fault lines across wide zone of volcanic instability stretching from the coast of the Americas to Southeast Asia.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, an average of 19 magnitude 7 earthquakes hit the ring each year.

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at