Disaster on Isla Orrego, Chile

March 3rd, 2010

A tiny river island in Chile may have been the site of 35% of Chile’s earthquake casualties, if reports are accurate.

As many as 300 people may have been camped on Isla Orrego at the mouth of the Maule River at the town of Constitucion, as part of a holiday celebration. The island is low-lying, partly forested, and only about 50 acres / 20 hectares.

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Waves of up to 30 feet / 10 meters swept over the island. While some had left after the quake, many remained, and all but a few who managed to climb trees were carried away.

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