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Cablegate: Travel Alert - Chile

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UNCLAS STATE 018636

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC ASEC KPAO PREL MZ
SUBJECT: TRAVEL ALERT - CHILE

1. The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the
situation in Chile in the aftermath of a powerful
earthquake, measuring 8.8 magnitude, that struck 73
miles north of Concepcion (Chile's second largest city;
pop. 650,000) and 197 miles south of Santiago. More
than 214 people died in the event, hundreds were injured
and there has been damage to thousands of homes and
commercial properties.

2. The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens
to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Chile. The
February 27th earthquake caused significant damage to
the areas closest to the epicenter, including the cities
of Concepcion, Talcahuano and Temuco. Santiago, Viqa
del Mar and Valparaiso were also affected by power
outages and limited telecommunications. The Santiago
International Airport has been closed to all but
military operations.

3. U.S. citizens currently in Chile should contact
family and friends in the US to confirm their well-being
at the earliest opportunity. Where internet and
telephone services are not available, it may be possible
to contact people using SMS (Cell text message) or other
forms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

4. Strong aftershocks are likely for weeks following a
strong earthquake such as this one. The American Red
Cross recommends that in the event of an aftershock,
persons outdoors should avoid being struck by falling
debris by moving to open spaces, away from walls,
windows, buildings, and other structures that may
collapse. If indoors, DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON: Drop
under a sturdy desk or table, hold on, and protect your
eyes by pressing your face against your arm. If there
is no table or desk nearby, sit on the floor against an
interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall
furniture that could fall on you. Avoid damaged
buildings and downed power lines. Great care should be
used with matches, lighters, candles, or any open flame
in case of disrupted gas lines.

5. Americans living or traveling in Chile are encouraged
to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate
through the State Department's travel registration
website to obtain updated information on travel and
security within Chile. Americans without Internet
access may register directly with the nearest U.S.
Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens
make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact
them in case of emergency.

U.S. Embassy Santiago
Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes
Santiago, Chile
Phone: 56-2-330 30 00
Fax: 56-2-330 30 05
After Hours Emergency Line: (56-2) 330-3000

6. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on
security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free
in the U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular
toll line at 1-202-501-4444. For information on general
crime and security issues, U.S. citizens should also
consult the Department of State's Country Specific
Information for Chile as well as The Worldwide Caution
located on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

7. Minimize considered.
CLINTON

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