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EARTHQUAKE IN CHILE

Since my last article, our country has been struck by a tremendous earthquake. Fortunately my family and friends have had only minor problems but many of my countrymen and women are having a very difficult time to say the least. In my own city, Viña del Mar, many buildings, some of them brand new, have been declared unfit to inhabit, meaning their dwellers have had to be put up by relatives or frineds. Further south, a tidal wave swept over the seafront along the coast, causing the death of many and others who have disappeared. Whole seatowns have disappeared, houses have been swept away and ships and boats have been washed ashore, some of them deposited hundreds of metres inland. Unfortunately, all this situation has caused the worst of human nature to come to the fore in groups of people, and looting has devastated already quake-shocked homeowners and shopkeepers. A curfew has been established in several cities and towns, and this has helped contain vandalism. This had never been seen before, and I feel ashamed to think that some Chileans would behave in this manner, taking advantage of the misfortune of others. Stern measures are beginning to be taken, and I think the country applauds this firm action against looters and vandals. Many good people have gone out of their way to help their compatriots, and it seems so shocking to see people act against those who show human kindness.

Building in Santiago, five years old

Pelluhue, coastal resort, after the tsunami

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