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March 2nd, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Situation 'quite precarious' in quake-ravaged Chile

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Rescuers searched for survivors as crews sought to deliver food and water and prevent looting after the fifth strongest earthquake in 100 years ravaged Chile."]

Concepcion, Chile (CNN) - A tale of two Chiles began to emerge late Monday, with life starting to return to normal in Santiago, Chile, and northern parts of the country, while other areas struggled with lack of food and water and looters roaming the streets.

Nearly three days after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake, rescuers in the hardest-hit areas, including the city of Concepcion, Chile, and the Maule and Bio Bio regions, scrambled to reach possible survivors. Looting broke out as thousands of residents in southern and central Chile remained without food, water, electricity, gas and other basic services.

"The situation there is quite precarious," U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons said at an afternoon teleconference from Santiago. He described the damage as "major, major devastation."

More than 700 bodies have been retrieved, and officials say the toll could climb. FULL STORY

Complete coverage: Chile Earthquake

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