SANTIAGO, Chile -- (AP) -- Two strongly felt earthquakes have rocked central Chile as dignitaries arrive for the inauguration of President-elect Sebastian Pinera.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the first quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 and the second registered at 7.2, and a tsunami is not expected in the Pacific coast. Both earthquakes rocked buildings in the capital, shook windows and provoked nervous smiles among dignitaries arriving for Thursday's ceremony at the congressional building in coastal Valparaiso.
Bolivian President Evo Morales seemed briefly disoriented. Peru's Alan Garcia joked that it gave them "a moment to dance."
Pinera will be going right to work after the ceremony. A billionaire investor, Harvard-trained economist and airline executive with little patience for bureaucracy, he asked that pomp and circumstance be mostly set aside at his inauguration.
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Instead, he planned a brief lunch with foreign dignitaries after the ceremony in Chile's legislature in Valparaiso, and then a working visit to coastal Constitution, where the tsunami killed many and destroyed the scenic downtown.
Pinera had vowed on election night to make Chile "the best country in the world," spending billions to accelerate economic growth, create a million jobs in four years and combat crime, among other things.
Now, reconstruction is his top priority.
Last month's 8.8-magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest on record globally, killed 500 identified victims and possibly hundreds of others; destroyed or heavily damaged at least 500,000 homes; and broke apart highways and hospitals. Repairing infrastructure alone will cost $5 billion, and overall recovery costs could soar above $15 billion.