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Chile military rolls out post-quake aid

[ 2010-03-05 11:14]     字号 [] [] []  
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The national military's humanitarian aid effort has hit the streets in Chile, carrying food and water to some areas that had seen little of either since a mammoth earthquake struck five days ago.

Soldiers filled trucks with plastic bags of cooking oil, flour and canned beans, and municipal crews in Concepcion delivered the packages Wednesday and Thursday to areas secured by troops from looters. The humanitarian role for Chile's army marked a shift for a military long associated with an era of repression.

Survivors cheered the troops' arrival and the restoration of order in streets still littered with rubble, downed power lines and destroyed cars. But some criticized that the first place in Concepcion to get an aid delivery was a street of houses inhabited by military families.

"This entire block belongs to the army," Yanira Cifuentes, 31, said of her street. She said her husband is an officer.

Cifuentes said the aid was welcome after days of sleeping in tents and sharing food with neighbors over a wood fire. But she also said the neighborhood hadn't gone hungry because residents had access to food at the regiment. Military officers insisted their families were suffering, too, and said many soldiers have been working around the clock since the quake not knowing how their loved ones fared.

Saturday's magnitude-8.8 quake and tsunami ravaged a 700-kilometer (435-mile) stretch of Chile's Pacific coast. Downed bridges and damaged or debris-strewn highways made transit difficult if not impossible in many areas. The official death toll reached 802 on Wednesday.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Chile military rolls out post-quake aid

About the broadcaster:

Chile military rolls out post-quake aid

Renee Haines is an editor and broadcaster at China Daily. Renee has more than 15 years of experience as a newspaper editor, radio station anchor and news director, news-wire service reporter and bureau chief, magazine writer, book editor and website consultant. She came to China from the United States.