(For full coverage, click on [ID:nCHILE])
* Death toll surges over 700, likely to rise
* Tsunamis devastate coastal communities
* Curfew imposed in two areas as looting flares
* Power cuts affect country's key copper mines
(Adds quote from tsunami-hit village, gov't error, copper mine
By Mario Naranjo
CONCEPCION, Chile, Feb 28 A massive earthquake
and tsunamis killed 350 people in one Chilean coastal town,
doubling the total death toll on Sunday as the government tried
to get aid to hungry survivors and halt looting.
President Michelle Bachelet said at least 708 people had
been killed and called for calm as people desperate for food
and water looted stores in some areas worst hit by Saturday's
8.8-magnitude quake, one of the world's biggest in a century.
Television images showed houses washed away by swirling
waters, cars tossed into shattered buildings and boats lifted
into the streets in coastal towns including Pelluhue and
Constitucion, where 350 deaths alone were reported.
"It's an enormous catastrophe ... there's a growing number
of missing people," Bachelet said, adding that food and medical
aid was being sent to help the roughly 2 million people
affected by the quake.
The quake wrecked hundreds of thousands of homes, mangled
highways and bridges and dealt a heavy blow to infrastructure
in the world's No. 1 copper producer and one of Latin America's
most stable economies.
Giant waves set off by the quake crashed hundred of meters
into some coastal towns and villages near the epicenter,
demolishing houses and sending residents fleeing into the
hills. The government had told Chileans immediately after the
quake that there was no danger of a tsunami, an error it said
was based on incorrect data from navy experts.
"I've got nothing left but what I'm wearing. We ran
desperately up the hill and watched how the sea washed
everything away," an unidentified woman from the fishing
village of Duao told state television.
A lack of water, food and fuel sharpened the hardship for
the hundreds of thousands of people left homeless, and
widespread disruption to the power supply threatened to hamper
Chilean industry's recovery.
Chile's biggest copper mines affected by the quake slowly
resumed operations on Sunday despite limited power supplies,
which analysts say could curtail exports.
In the hard-hit city of Concepcion, about 310 miles (500
km) south of Santiago, about 60 people were feared to have been
crushed to death in a collapsed apartment block where rescuers
worked through the night to find survivors.
The government imposed a night-time curfew in Concepcion
and the Maule region in a bid to stop looting and army troops
began to arrive in the city late on Sunday.
Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a crowd
of looters carrying off food and electrical appliances from one
supermarket in Concepcion. Television images showed people
stuffing groceries and other goods into shopping trolleys.
"People have gone days without eating," said Orlando
Salazar, one of the looters at the supermarket. "The only
option is to come here and get stuff for ourselves."
Concepcion's mayor, Jacqueline van Rysselberghe, said the
situation was getting "out of control" due to shortages of
basic supplies and called for troops to be sent to the city.
The quake poses a daunting reconstruction challenge for
President-elect Sebastian Pinera, who takes office in two
Crushed cars, fallen power lines and rubble from wrecked
buildings littered the streets of Concepcion, which has about
670,000 inhabitants and lies 70 miles (115 km) southwest of the
A string of strong aftershocks have rocked the country and
thousands of Concepcion residents camped out in tents or
makeshift shelters, fearing fresh tremors could topple weakened
Some economists predicted a deep impact on Chile's economy
after the quake damaged its industrial and agricultural sectors
in the worst-hit regions, possibly putting pressure on its
The economic damage from the quake could be up to $30
billion, equivalent to about 15 percent of Chile's gross
domestic product, said Eqecat, a firm that helps insurers model
Chile's fourth-largest copper mine El Teniente, which
accounts for more than 7 percent of national output, resumed
operations on Sunday. The nearby Andina mine was also due to
resume operations but analysts feared power outages could still
curtail supplies. [ID:nN28209603]
Production also resumed on Sunday at the Anglo-American
(AAL.L) Los Bronces copper mine, one of the company's two mines
where power outages halted output, a union leader told
Santiago's airport started to receive international flights
for the first time since the quake struck. Officials said the
runways were unscathed but the terminal building was damaged.
The temblor triggered tsunamis as far afield as Japan and
Russia, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or
serious damage. [ID:nTOE61R014]
(Additional reporting by Simon Gardner and Alonso Soto in
Santiago and London bureau; Writing by Stuart Grudgings and
Helen Popper, editing by Anthony Boadle)