Chile’s top court orders compensation for tsunami victims

SANTIAGO – The Supreme Court of Chile has ordered compensation of more than 1.8 billion pesos (about 2.92 million U.S. dollars) to the families of 20 of the victims of the tsunami that struck this country in 2010.

By unanimous decision on Friday, the highest judicial body ratified the rulings issued in first and second instance by the courts before the compensations demanded from the Chilean State by the relatives of the deceased, local press reported.

Authorities in Chile made a grave mistake in recommending that people return to their homes after the earthquake struck the South American country in February 2010 when a tsunami soon followed.

The ruling was issued by the Third Chamber of the Chilean Supreme Court, where 74 people filed a lawsuit against the State for failing to warn people about the possibility of a tsunami that would follow the devastating earthquake.

According to the ruling of the Supreme Court, the family members will receive up to 30 million pesos (about 47,620 dollars), depending on the case, as compensation for their losses.

In addition, the Court rejected an appeal by the State Defense Council (CDE) against the ruling that benefitted the victims.

On February 27, 2010, a devastating earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale affected several Chilean regions with more than 520 deaths and around two million victims.

As a result of the earthquake, a strong tsunami hit the Chilean coasts and caused the destruction of several localities already affected by the geological phenomenon.

The beneficiaries of the decision of the court are in the Juan Fernandez archipelago, near the coast, and in the areas of San Antonio, Constitucion, Talcahuano and Tome, in the center of the country.