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Escape From Camp 14

Escape From Camp 14

By Blaine Harden

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Ear to the Ground

Waiting for Aid in Chile

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Posted on Mar 6, 2010
Flickr / Luis Iturra

The Basilica del Salvador in Santiago, Chile, was heavily damaged in last week’s massive quake.

Chile may be way better off economically than Haiti, but many survivors of the Feb. 27 earthquake in the South American country are still awaiting government help a full week after the fifth-strongest temblor ever recorded. —JCL


Some survivors were still waiting for government aid on Saturday in south-central Chile, a week after one of the strongest earthquakes on record killed hundreds and repeated aftershocks rattled nerves.

Homeless and desperate, they voiced anger and frustration at outgoing President Michelle Bachelet’s handling of the disaster, saying her administration was too slow to mobilize after the 8.8-magnitude quake struck early on February 27.

“There has been an earthquake of disorganization on the part of the national and local governments,” said Fernando Valenzuela, 44, who is living with his wife in a tent city of 42 in the small town of Dichato, near the quake epicenter.

“This is a case of bad governmental management and organization ... 99 percent of the help we have got has been from the Chilean people, and only 1 percent from the government,” he added as others cooked meals over open fires.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 7, 2010 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

By rfidler, March 7 at 12:47 pm #

The Chilian government is responding like Bush is at the helm, hence Katrinaesque.

The failure of the U.S. to respond in a timely manner to disasters is laughable whether in the U.S. or another country.  We respond with troops before anything else.

You obviously know very little about American history and the life and times of Patrick Henry who with the other founding fathers prefered a standing civilian militia over a standing army which would inevitably lead to a loss of personal freedoms.

Those fears have come to fruition.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, March 7, 2010 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

“Very Katrinaesque.

What does it say about the U.S…”

Why the hell must an 8.8 earthquake “say” something about the US?

Maybe the fact that help is as slow to come to affluent Chile as it was to poor Haiti says more about the nature of devastating earthquakes than the “politics” of response.

And another thing- lose the PatrickHenry moniker- “We need to downsize the rest.” is an insult to Patrick Henry.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 6, 2010 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

Very Katrinaesque.

What does it say about the U.S. that we can deploy armed troops anywhere in the world in a matter of hours but we can’t send some C5-A’s with blankets, k-rats and water purification set-ups within a week.

The Army corps of engineers and the Seabees are the only part of our military I would like to see grow.

We need to downsize the rest.

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