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Google launches a tool for a person finder after Chile quake

Typically, natural disasters come with little advance notice. But after a massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, much of the Pacific coast, including Hawaii, came under tsunami watch over the course of the day. That makes this was one time when the news media is poised to catch it all on film.

But Google has launched a tool to help people locate friends and loved ones who might have been affected by Saturday’s 8.8.-magnitude earthquake in Chile.

Google Person Finder allows users to search for information about people by name or leave information about people in both English and Spanish. As of Sunday morning, the page said it contained 22,900 records. However, the page cautions users that all data input would be viewable and usable by all and that the company plays no role in verifying the information.

A Google crisis response page also notes that Americans seeking information can call the U.S. State Department at 1-888-407-4747. The page includes a map listing recent seismic activity in Chile, as well as resources to donate money to charities supporting the earthquake relief effort. “Your donation will help disaster victims rebuild their lives and their communities,” the page says.

As with the Haiti relief effort, donations can also be made via text message, according to the Mobile Giving Foundation, the organization that processes the donations. Cell users can make a $10 donation to the effort by texting the word “Chile” to any of the following numbers: 25383 (Habitat for Humanity), 20222 (World Vision), and 52000 (Salvation Army).

As of Sunday morning, local authorities had reported about 300 fatalities as a result of the massive quake, but that number was expected to rise.

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