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Chile needs more aid: Red Cross

world Updated: Mar 10, 2010 08:02 IST
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The Red Cross has doubled its aid appeal for Chileans made homeless by last month's massive earthquake, saying the costs of the disaster will be greater than anticipated.

The Red Cross hiked its appeal to $12.9 million after devastation from the February 27 earthquake and tsunami that struck much of south-central Chile became apparent in the days after the event.

The funds will "provide more comprehensive assistance to a greater number of families", the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a statement.

The money will be directed towards health services, aid in obtaining a shelter, and water and sanitation services for one year, it said.

IFRC Secretary General Bekele Geleta, currently on a visit to Santiago, said that in talks with outgoing President Michelle Bachelet and regional officials it became clear "that emergency and transitional shelter were absolute priorities, especially with the rainy season beginning very soon and winter just around the corner."

It will take months to rebuild the many severely damaged hospitals, he said.

"In the meantime, the health needs of the population in those regions must be met," Geleta said.