Chile's President Orders Grocery Stores to Give Food Away After Devastating Quake

"They have asked for communications equipment, some of which I am bringing with me on our plane," Clinton told reporters. "One of the reasons why they have asked me to continue my trip is to assess whatever else they might need and immediately begin the process of providing aid."

The State Department said today that Chile has already asked for aid including field hospitals, generators, water purification systems, tents, and rescue teams. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said those supplies will be on their way to Chile soon, and the United Nations and individual countries are also promising to send aid quickly.

Chile's Coastal Areas Hit Twice -- By Earthquake and Tsunami

Chile's president has called the quake catastrophic.

"We face an emergency without precedent in the history of Chile in which we need fast and urgent answers," said Bachelet, whose term of office ends on March 11. She will be succeeded by as president by Sebastian Pinera.

Life in the capital city, Santiago, began to return to normal today, but central Chile bore the brunt of the earthquake and likely has a long recovery ahead. Some coastal areas were completely destroyed by the earthquake, struck once by the quake and then by a tsunami wave that rushed in 30 minutes later.

Chilean Defense Minister Francisco Vidal acknowledged that the country's navy could have saved more lives by immediately activating a tsunami warning after the quake, the AP said.

In other parts of the country, the damage was less severe but still significant. In the small town of Hospital, south of Santiago, a major highway bridge was shaken from its support columns by the quake, crumbling onto a major rail line underneath the bridge. The structure was built recently to withstand earthquakes, leaving locals wondering why it fell.

While looting was a problem in some areas, other regions fared better. In the city of Rancagua, Chileans waited for gasoline and other supplies in long but orderly lines.

Saturday's earthquake was 500 times stronger than the one that hit Haiti over a month ago, but Chile's stronger infrastructure, building codes, and government are being credited with lessening the devastation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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