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MP's return to Ottawa delayed in Chile

Andrew Livingstone
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, March 3, 2010

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - On a break in Chile from the hustle and bustle of Parliament, Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington's vacation was no more after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck on Feb. 27.

The quake devastated the city of Concepcion, Chile. Bevington was in a small fishing village about 500 km north of the Concepcion when it struck, unaware of what had happened until his daughter called from Fort Smith.

"I was awakened early in the morning and noticed the power was off in the hotel," Bevington said by e-mail. "Around then my daughter and son-in-law called me on my cell from Fort Smith. They were worried as they had heard the news about an earthquake and tsunami."

Bevington then informed others staying at the hotel.

"It was a bit unnerving at first but we soon realized the danger had passed," he wrote. "Other people in the region said they felt the tremors, but not us. When we saw the extent of damages, we stayed in the North (until this past) Monday and then drove into Santiago in the hopes that the airport might be open."

The airport in the Chilean capital, however, was closed.

Scheduled to fly out that evening, Bevington and his wife purchased bus tickets to Mendoza, Argentina, a 24-hour bus ride through the Andes Mountains. They hoped to catch connecting flights to Buenos Aires and on to Sao Paulo to get back to Canada.

Bevington said he hopes to be back in Ottawa in time for Thursday's budget address.

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