WASHINGTON—The State Department on Sunday urged Americans to avoid tourist trips and other nonessential travel to Chile, one day after the South American country was struck by a magnitude-8.8 earthquake.
American citizens who are currently in Chile were asked to contact family and friends in the United States, whether by telephone, Internet or cell-phone text messaging.
Those without access to a telephone or the Internet were encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is traveling to Latin America for a five-nation trip this week. She will spend Monday in Montevideo, Uruguay; a scheduled dinner with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has been canceled.
On Tuesday, Clinton will briefly visit Santiago, Chile's capital, before traveling to Brasilia, Brazil.
"Our hemisphere comes together in times of crisis, and we will stand side-by-side with the people of Chile in this emergency," Clinton said Saturday.
The death toll from Saturday's quake has passed 70, and Chilean officials said 500,000 houses were destroyed or badly damaged.