Listen

SANTIAGO, April 2 (Xinhua/Sun) -- Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said Wednesday that her country would seek "a safe return to normalcy" after a powerful quake hit off the northern coast.

"Evaluation work has begun to guarantee a safe return to normalcy" in the hardest-hit city of Iquique and its surrounding area, Bachelet said after a meeting with members of a regional emergency committee.

She said officials would work first to restore water and electricity to affected districts, and to review and repair damaged roads.

Work has also begun to "assess damage to homes and other types of infrastructure to ensure a safe return to homes," she added.

The president also expressed her condolences to the families of all quake victims.

A series of temblors culminating late Tuesday in a quake registering 8.2 on the Richter scale sparked tsunami warnings for towns along Chile's northern coast and other countries along the Pacific Ocean.

Six people were killed by the quake, which destroyed homes and buildings, disrupted highway traffic and cut off electricity in the region.

Bachelet said she was scheduled to overfly the affected area to determine the worst-hit parts, adding that a team of technicians from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development were to arrive later in the day.

She said as the main hospital in Iquique was damaged in the quake, the army would send a mobile hospital unit for needed emergency surgery and patient care while the hospital building was evaluated.

The president also sent a message to fishermen in the affected area, who lost nearly 80 percent of their vessels, saying she had instructed officials to "take every measure ... to allow the fishermen to resume their livelihood as soon as possible


Listen