Afermath Of Chile’s Earthquake (Video)
March 2, 2010 By Rachel Brooks-Ames
Above is a video from Al Jazeera English reporters describing the devastating situation on the ground in Chile in the aftermath of Saturday’s massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake.
In addition to the quake, a tsunami hit the city of Constitución. The government says the death toll in the area is around 350, but residents report higher numbers due to a festival underway on the night of the quake. Local radio stations estimate around 500 dead, but this number has not been confirmed by Al Jazeera. The report says a stadium in Constitución is now used as a mass grave, and no curfew is in place despite increasing unrest.
Constitución has yet to receive aid aside from a strong military presence. Two prisons in the area were destroyed during the chaos — in one case, prisoners escaped, and in the second, guards were forced to release them.
In Concepción, Chile’s second largest city, many remain trapped inside collapsed buildings. There are water and food shortages, along with massive electrical failures that have yet to be restored.
Looting is rampant, both of food and other necessities as well as goods such as televisions and stoves. People in the city’s periphery are alarmed and remain outside their houses with bonfires, armed with bats and sticks. The mayor of the city has appealed for immediate action by the government.
In Talca, a town inland from Constitución, a similar situation persists. Families are guarding the remains of their homes to fend off looters and there is still no water or electricity, however the military has implemented a command center, and is starting to provide necessary goods.
A ship is expected to dock on a nearby coastline to assist the process of aid distribution. The BBC confirmed that President Bachelet will send 7,000 troops to area around Concepción.