UN, Iridium Rush Satellite Links to Quake-hit Chile

The United Nations (UN) agency responsible for IT and telecommunications has delivered 25 satellite phones to Chile to help restore communication links vital to bringing aid to areas devastated by the massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake on Saturday.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said it airlifted the satellite phones out of Geneva on Monday and expected them to be in use on Tuesday. The UN agency thanked Iridium Communications, which operates a global satellite network for mobile telecommunications, for its support of the effort.

International aid groups and UN agencies in Haiti are already using Iridium 9555 satellite phones in support of Haiti relief and recovery efforts.

The temblor in Chile caused widespread damage in the nation and killed over 700 people. It was such a massive quake that it affected the earth's rotation, cutting short the day by 1.26 millionths of a second, according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, writing on his Twitter feed.

"All quakes alter mass within Earth's crust, affecting our rotation rate," he wrote.

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