Mon, March 01, 2010
World > Americas > Chile earthquake

Int'l community promises new aid to Chile, looting occurs in quake-hit zones

2010-03-01 23:31:29 GMT2010-03-02 07:31:29 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

A policeman tries to keep order as people run away with looted merchandise in the quake-devastated Concepcion, Chile, March 1, 2010. Chilean security forces Monday arrested dozens of looters in Concepcion as hundreds of looters ransacked shops for food and other goods. The 8.8-magnitude quake occurring Saturday has killed over 700 people in Chile. (Xinhua/Martin Zabala)

People loot merchandise outside a shop in the quake-devastated Concepcion, Chile, March 1, 2010. Chilean security forces Monday arrested dozens of looters in Concepcion as hundreds of looters ransacked shops for food and other goods. The 8.8-magnitude quake occurring Saturday has killed over 700 people in Chile. (Xinhua/Martin Zabala)

People loot merchandise from a shop in the quake-devastated Concepcion, Chile, March 1, 2010. Chilean security forces Monday arrested dozens of looters in Concepcion as hundreds of looters ransacked shops for food and other goods. The 8.8-magnitude quake occurring Saturday has killed over 700 people in Chile. (Xinhua/Martin Zabala)

Policemen try to keep order in the quake-devastated Concepcion, Chile, March 1, 2010. Chilean security forces Monday arrested dozens of looters in Concepcion as hundreds of looters ransacked shops for food and other goods. The 8.8-magnitude quake occurring Saturday has killed over 700 people in Chile. (Xinhua/Martin Zabala)

A looter runs away with merchandise he stole from a shop in the quake-devastated Concepcion, Chile, March 1, 2010. Chilean security forces Monday arrested dozens of looters in Concepcion as hundreds of looters ransacked shops for food and other goods. The 8.8-magnitude quake occurring Saturday has killed over 700 people in Chile. (Xinhua/Martin Zabala)

CONCEPCION, Chile, March 1 (Xinhua) -- The international community has promised aid to Chile, where an 8.8-magnitude quake hit its second largest city of Concepcion that has left more than 711 people dead, while rescuers are desperately trying to find more survivors within the first 72 hours after the quake.

In the meantime, looting has been reported in Concepcion, and parts of the capital Santiago.

On Monday, the United Nations said Chile has asked the international community to provide aid, and the world body is ready to carry out rescue efforts in Chile and to help the country in its reconstruction process.

The Chinese government has decided to offer a 1-million-U.S.-dollar emergency humanitarian aid to Chile, Yao Jian, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce said Monday.

Yao said that the Chinese government is watching closely the developments in Chile, and will provide various forms of humanitarian aid to meet the needs of the quake-hit zones.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said on Monday that his country will provide 3 million dollars in emergency aid, and supplies worth up to 30 million yen (336,000 dollars) to Chile, such as emergency tents, water purifiers and power generators.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has announced that the European Union is in a position to give 3 million euros (around 4 million U.S. dollars) to help meet the most urgent needs following the devastating earthquake in Chile.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have promised to release 300,000 Swiss francs (279,000 U.S. dollars) from its emergency funds to help with relief efforts in Chile.

The first batch of foreign medical supplies -- sent by Argentina -- arrived in Chile on Sunday, according to the Chilean government.

Latin American envoys to Chile will meet on Monday to discuss ways of coordinating their countries' relief efforts.

Peruvian President Alan Garcia said Sunday that his country will provide Chile with construction materials to help it fix up the damage caused by the earthquake.

Moreover, Venezuela, Mexico and Poland have also offered assistance and condolences to the quake-hit country.

Two days after the massive quake, power supply has resumed partly in some areas of south-central Chile. Gas stations along the speedway have resumed services and a large number of vehicles are queuing for refueling.

It is estimated that the international airport in Santiago will totally resume operation on Friday, the Chilean authorities said.

However, extreme lack of living necessities has spurred shop loots and robberies in quake-hit areas. Chilean security forces Monday arrested dozens of looters in Concepcion, where hundreds of looters ransacked shops for food and other goods. The security forces detained dozens of people for looting.

Looting also broke out in parts of Santiago.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has declared a "state of catastrophe" in quake-hit areas, saying the disaster has so far claimed more than 711 lives and left hundreds of others unaccountable.

Southern and central areas of the country have been hit hard by the earthquake. Some roads and bridges of the highway linking Santiago and Talca, near where a 6.2-magnitude aftershock occurred late Sunday, have collapsed and vehicles bump slowly along quake-jolted roads.

The halt of production of four mines in Chile immediately after the quake in Chile has led to Copper price hikes. Chile is the world's largest copper producer and exporter.

Chile's state-run Codelco company was resuming production at its El Teniente mine, and the Andina mine is expected to restart operation quickly. The two mines produce 600,000 tons of copper annually.

The London-based Anglo American Plc mining company has said that power supply had been "partially" restored to its Los Bronces and El Soldado mines in Chile, which produce a combined 280,000 tons of copper a year.

The four mines, accounting for 16 percent of Chile's output and making up 36 percent of global exports of copper, were closed Saturday because of power outages.

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