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Chile Earthquake Death Toll Rises to 708, Rescuers Scramble

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Rescuers searched for survivors 24 hours after one of the biggest earthquakes in recorded history rocked Chile early Saturday. The death toll has risen to 708 -- as of Sunday morning PST -- but more than two million residents are considered displaced, wounded or otherwise affected.

According to the L.A. Times," the 8.8 quake toppled buildings, buckled freeways and set off sirens thousands of miles away as governments scrambled to protect coastal residents from the ensuing tsunami. Authorities lifted tsunami warnings Sunday after smaller-than-feared waves washed shores from Southern California to Hawaii and Japan."

Many media outlets report looting in heavily damaged areas. "Crowds overran supermarkets in the port city of Concepcion, which sustained widespread damage, and were making off with food, water and diapers but also television sets. Several banks also were hit. Police in armored vehicles sprayed looters with water cannons and made several arrests, mostly of young men," said the Times.

As far as tsunamis, which many feared would crush shores around the Pacific rim, the immediate danger appears to be over. While the quake's shockwave "sent a tsunami racing halfway around the world," according to NPR, "fortunately, the waves generated by that tsunami were not as large as had been feared, sparing Hawaii, Japan, Russia and other places along the Pacific from damage. 

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