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Ear to the Ground

Chile’s President Tries to Contain Post-Quake Panic

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Posted on Mar 2, 2010
police confront Chileans
AP / Mario Quilodran-El Mercurio

Police confront people on the street in Concepcion, Chile, on Monday.

The Chilean city of Concepcion took a big hit from last weekend’s earthquake, and now Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, is working to keep a lid on looting and possible violence in its wake with the help of 14,000 troops posted in the affected region, according to the BBC.


But security in the city remains a key concern after shops and homes were looted on Monday and police made large numbers of arrests.

The deteriorating security situation in Concepcion comes despite the influx of thousands of troops to reinforce local police.

“We can say that, according what we’ve been told from the area, the situation in Concepcion is under control today,” President Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday.

But, she added, authorities would take any “necessary measure” to stop renewed looting.

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By Mike Razim, March 3, 2010 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m glad the government is stepping in to end looting.  This will help end looters that are just stealing because they can or are taking big ticket items, but what are they doing to solve the problem, often behind looting, of people starving.  This video from,, gives the perspective from a women struggling to feed her children.  How are they providing necessary resources for their peoples’ survival?

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By peoresna, March 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I live in Santiago in a house that has suffered the 3rd major earthquake so far without any problem. It was built in the mid to late 60s. Only a few ceramic objects were broken. I also lived through the 1960 and 1971 earthquakes, but I missed the 1985 one during Pinochet’s dictatorship because I was living in exile that lasted 31 years , 8 months and 16 days. I had returned almost 2 ‘n 1/2 years. I never experienced a stronger and longer quake! I could not even run out, I could not stand, It was very noisy in itself, everything was falling and braking, it was so terrifying. It did last less than 2 min according to official sources, but I thought they were 5 to 7 min, it was a never ending event. when everyting was quiet again I walked to the living-room, I opened the curtains and it was the eeriest thing, I have no words to describe the beauty of the scene and the horror of what I knew it was a major calamity that it turned out to be a cataclysm, there was a full shining moon on an entire blacked out city, I have never seen my garden so gorgeous, the flowers all open under the bluish moon light. I stood entranced I do not know how long or how little… Then I sort of recovered and went to pick up an old battery radio to connect to the world again. I am so happy to be alived! I feel guilty somehow because so many chileans are living such a terrible nightmare, I am trying to donate to the chilean red cross, but still I cannot donate through a debit credit card.
For me is very terrible that I left a country under a dictatorship and in state of siege, and I return under a soon to be goverment of the same people who worked for and supported the dictatorship and the military coup, and a partial state of siege!
Poor Chile, it is a damnation.

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