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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chile Sends Post-Quake Aid North

TOCOPILLA, Chile -- The Chilean government was sending tons of food, water and medicine to the country's quake-stricken north on Thursday, a day after a 7.7-magnitude temblor left some 15,000 people homeless.

The earthquake destroyed or damaged more than 4,000 houses, killed two people and injured more than 150, the government reported.

This port city and the nearby mining town of Maria Elena were the hardest hit, and presidential spokesman Ricardo Lagos Weber said both would be declared disaster areas to expedite aid delivery.

Lagos Weber said 500 emergency housing units were sent to Tocopilla along with a portable military hospital, after the local hospital was severely damaged.

Air Force General Guillermo Ramirez said a portable military hospital was sent to Tocopilla and was already operating Thursday morning, after the local hospital was severely damaged.

Housing Minister Patricia Poblete said many structures could not be saved, and firefighters and other workers began demolishing the most severely damaged homes.

Hundreds of residents in this port city of 27,000 slept in cars or tents in front of their houses. Officials said many were refusing to go to shelters, fearing their homes will be looted if left unattended.

"We slept in the car, because we have to care for whatever the quake didn't destroy," resident Luis Porcel said.