| GEO World|
| US urges no non-essential travel to Chile|
| Updated at: 0418 PST, Monday, March 01, 2010|
WASHINGTON: The United States urged nationals Sunday to postpone non-essential travel to Chile as the South American nation pressed on with tough rescue and recovery operations after a massive earthquake.
"The Department of State strongly urges US citizens to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Chile," the department said in a statement.
American nationals in Chile were also urged to "contact family and friends in the US to confirm their well-being at the earliest opportunity.
"The (8.8-magnitude) February 27th earthquake caused significant damage to the areas closest to the epicenter, including the cities of Concepcion, Talcahuano and Temuco," the statement said.
"Santiago, Vina del Mar and Valparaiso were also affected by power outages and limited telecommunications. The Santiago International Airport has been closed to all but military operations."