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Eight in Chile indicted in tsunami case

Feb. 14, 2012 at 10:37 AM

SANTIAGO, Chile, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Members of former Chilean President Michelle Bachalet's Cabinet have been indicted for alleged shortcomings in responding to the 2010 tsunami, officials say.

Eight members of Bachalet's Cabinet have been indicted, and are to stand trial beginning May 7 following an investigation into alleged mistakes made during the emergency response to the tsunami, The Santiago Times reported Tuesday.

Among those indicted are former Deputy Interior Minister Patricio Rosende and Carmen Fernandez, former director of the National Office of Emergencies.

Many political officials have criticized Bachalet's response to the disaster, among them National Renewal Party Deputy Christian Monckeberg.

"The responsibility of the ex-president is that she allowed for the loss of public order in the hours after the earthquake and tsunami," he told Radio Agricultura.

The 8.8 earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed nearly 800 people and caused significant property damage, collapsing a number of buildings and crippling the Santiago International Airport.

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