One of the other results of this earthquake, though, was that it knocked the Earth off its axis by about 3 inches, thus increasing the rotation of the earth, and decreasing the length of our days. Not by much, mind you, only 1.26 microseconds, but it is a cumulative thing.
That is all to say, it was a massive earthquake. Secretary of State Clinton had already planned a trip to Chile anyway, and she met with Secretary Bachelet on Tuesday:
Below is the text of Secretary Clinton's remarks to President Bachelet, and the people of Chile. For the complete session, with comments by President Bachelet, click HERE:
SECRETARY CLINTON: President Bachelet, I first come with the great sympathy and support from President Obama and the people of the United States. This devastating earthquake has wrought so much damage across your country. The ferocity was 800 times greater than the earthquake that hit Haiti, and your leadership and the extraordinary efforts of your government and the people of Chile are responding with resilience and strength. And the United States is ready to respond to the request that the government of Chile has made so that we can provide not only solidarity, but specific supplies that are needed to help you recover from the earthquake.
Amen to that. Chile has a better infrastructure than Haiti, but there was still a tremendous amount of damage done, and loss of life. Clinton continues:
I was planning to be in Chile today anyway for a long-scheduled trip and I was so looking forward to meeting with President Bachelet who is a leader whom I admire greatly and consider a friend. And when I spoke with the president, I said, “I will not come if it will interfere in any way.” And we changed the itinerary so that I could come and I brought with me 25 of these satellite phones. We have identified 62 as the highest priority for the government’s request. I had 25 on my plane loaded on and I’m going to give this one to you, Madam President.
And let me just add after consulting with the president and her ministers, we are sending eight water purification units. They are on their way. We have identified a mobile field hospital unit with surgical capabilities that is ready to go. We are working to fill the need for autonomous dialysis machines. We are ready to purchase and send electricity generators, medical supplies and are working to identify and send portable bridges so that some of the places that are remote that lost their bridges will be able to be reconnected to the country. People are working. That’s a good sound.
And finally, Madam President, after discussing the needs that Chile has, we will look to see if we can provide additional equipments from portable kitchens to helicopters to assist you in this massive rescue recovery effort that you are undertaking. And additionally, we will let the people of America, who are very anxious to help Chileans, know that they can contribute to the Chilean Red Cross; that they can contribute to the Caritas Chile and the ONEMI programs. We will get that information and give our press the specifics.
Like her trip to Haiti, Secretary Clinton, by her presence, and by the tools she brings, represents our country so well, exuding sympathy, comfort, and determination.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Chile. I hope the aid Secretary Clinton brought with her, and promised on our behalf, will be of an immediate help.