Chile looting dwindles as aid arrives

The arrival of food aid and an increased military presence on the streets of Concepcion curtailed further looting on Wednesday in the earthquake-devastated Chilean city.

The arrival of food aid and an increased military presence on the streets of Concepcion curtailed further looting on Wednesday in the earthquake-devastated Chilean city.

President Michelle Bachelet said the country was not facing shortages of food or fuel in the aftermath of Saturday's 8.8-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami, which killed 796 people and damaged some 500,000 homes.


If you were in the quake zone — or have relatives who were — tell us about your experience.

But she continued to call for aid in the form of medical supplies and infrastructure and communications support for her country.

Ottawa said on Tuesday it will provide $2 million in humanitarian assistance to Chile to aid the country's relief efforts following Saturday's devastating earthquake.

Minister of International Co-operation Bev Oda said in a statement Canada would monitor the situation and see if more aid is needed.


Canada's Foreign Affairs Department says those seeking information about Canadians in Chile can call613-943-1055 or 1-800-387-3124.

The quake and subsequent tsunami ravaged coastal towns along a 700-kilometre stretch of Chile's Pacific coastline, downing bridges, damaging roads and making travel and the delivery of aid difficult.

Powerful aftershocks caused renewed panic in devastated fishing villages and coastal towns on Wednesday, sending people running for higher ground, although there was no tsunami alert.

Roads were mostly cleared as of Wednesday, greatly aiding relief efforts, but many people in the country were still without power, water and working telephone connections, and food supplies were also low.

Earthquakes in South America

Jan. 25, 1939 — Chillan, Chile

About 28,000 people perished after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

Nov. 10, 1946 — Ancash, Peru

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake levelled buildings in Ancash and spurred heavy landslides that buried the neighbouring village of Acobamba. About 1,400 people died.

May 31, 1970 — Chimbote, Peru

About 70,000 people were killed and 150,000 others injured after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake.

Dec. 12, 1972 — Managua, Nicaragua

Thousands of people were injured and 5,000 people died after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake destroyed large regions.

Jan. 25, 1999 — Colombia

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake flattened buildings and homes, and caused serious damage throughout Colombia, including Caldas, Huila, Tolima and Calarca. At least 1,185 people died and 250,000 people were left homeless.

Source: U.S. Geological Survey

Canada's Foreign Affairs department said Tuesday the government has located 746 Canadians and is looking for another 246 Canadians in the region.

Sarah Fountain-Smith, Canada's ambassador to Chile, says the embassy has set up a temporary base of operations in the capital of Santiago while the main embassy itself is assessed for structural damage. Two officials have also arrived in Concepcion and have begun to drive around the city making contact with Canadians there.

She said embassy workers are providing Canadians with water, but food is being supplied by Chilean military personnel.

Fountain-Smith said there have so far been no indications of Canadian casualties.

The Chilean government began airlifting more than 200 tonnes of food to hard-hit regions on Tuesday and said food is less of an issue than infrastructure aid and a lack of emergency workers.

Bachelet met on Tuesday at the airport in Santiago with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who brought satellite communication equipment and a technician to aid in rescue efforts. Clinton said it was the first instalment of what will be substantial U.S. assistance.

Chile's neighbours have led the way in pledging aid. The first of six Argentine aircraft arrived on Tuesday, loaded with much of the equipment needed to set up a field hospital.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also pledged to send a field hospital and aid, and Peruvian President Alan Garcia said his country would send a field hospital and 30 tonnes of humanitarian assistance.

With files from The Canadian Press