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Chilean building codes save lives in earthquake

Chile will not be as badly affected as Haiti, despite being hit by a substantially larger earthquake, a British architectural aid charity has claimed

According to Article 25, the South American country’s tough building codes will have saved lives and prevented many structures collapsing in the catastrophic way they did on Haiti earlier this year.

A spokesman said: ‘Chile [has] a long history of earthquakes and a proven capacity to recover. The country’s ability to cope with an earthquake of this magnitude is in large part due to the country’s preparedness strategy, including a high standard of building codes which require earthquake resistant construction methods.’

The massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit north of coastal city Concepcion on Saturday.

The estimated death toll yesterday rose from 300 to 708 with emergency services trawling the rubble for bodies.

The spokesperson said: ‘The initial aftermath of the quake will call for search and rescue services, medical assistance, and reinstating infrastructure such as water supplies and communication networks. Should the services of Article 25 be needed we will support initiatives to rebuild affected areas.

‘Despite being of a higher magnitude than the devastating earthquake in Haiti earlier this year, Chile’s preparedness, combined with the fact that the quake struck offshore [in the Pacific] and at a considerable depth under the earth’s surface, marks the stark difference in human and structural impact between this and Haiti’s earthquake.’

On 12 January a 7.0 magnitude quake killed over 200,000 on the island-nation of Haiti.

Article 25 issued an immediate response calling on architects to aid the victims of the earthquake.

Next week with Outreach International the charity will start rebuilding over 20 Haitian schools now flattened. Their team includes Article 25 director Robin Cross, project manager Melissa Arcand and structural engineer Franck Robert from Buro Happold.

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