Chile completes reconstruction 6 years after quake

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Santiago, Feb 28 (IANS) Six years after a devastating earthquake shook Chile on February 27, 2010 and claimed over 500 lives, the Chilean government is close to completing reconstruction of infrastructure essential for restoring public life.

The government said the final stage of reconstruction, set to be finished in 2018, will involve an investment of about $224 million in the country’s southern and central regions, Xinhua reported.

“In total, 91.7 percent of the budget assigned for rebuilding work has been spent. The final 8.3 percent will be used over the 2016-2017 period,” said a release from the Ministry of Public Works.

President Michelle Bachelet will embark on a trip around all six quake-affected regions, including the capital Santiago.

She will also meet affected families who have still not received new housing, and inspect those already re-housed.

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The region of Biobio was one of the worst-hit. While it was not hit by the tsunami, structural damage was serious there.

The authorities expressed satisfaction with the reconstruction, with only the repairing of the Bicentenario bridge yet to be completed.

Alvaro Ortiz, mayor of capital city Concepcion, said: “The reconstruction is practically finished.”

Luisa Villegas, who lost her home in the village of Santa Clara de Talcahuano, said she received “a nice house after two years”.

The municipality of Constitucion lies in the region of Maule, which took the brunt of the tsunami. Over 250 houses were given for free to those who had lost theirs in the quake.

However, Carlos Valenzuela, mayor of Constitucion, criticised the slow progress of the rebuilding plan for the area.

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New evacuation routes were planned in the event of new earthquakes and tsunamis, but Valenzuela said only 40 percent has been completed.

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