The international community is mobilizing assistance for Chile after
Saturday's devastating earthquake that killed more than 700 people and
displaced some two million others.
A spokeswoman for the United Nations (Elisabeth Byrs) said the Chilean government has formally asked the U.N. for assistance.
Speaking in Uruguay, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she
will go ahead with a planned visit to Chile and will deliver emergency
communications equipment requested by Chilean authorities.
Clinton said she will assess what additional aid the country needs that the U.S. can begin providing immediately.
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Monday Japan is dispatching
an emergency medical mission to Chile. Officials say Japan will provide
up to $3 million in an emergency grant to help the earthquake recovery.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet says the 8.8-magnitude earthquake is an emergency "unparalleled in the history of Chile."
Security forces said Monday they have arrested dozens of people for
violating curfew and looting around the southern city of Concepcion and
President Bachelet sent 10,000 soldiers to the earthquake region to
restore order, and she announced an agreement with supermarket chains
to distribute food free-of-charge.
Ms. Bachelet also promised deliveries of food, water and shelter for the thousands of people living on the streets.
The president was reluctant to ask for international aid when the quake
first hit, but later appealed for assistance. Officials expect the
number of dead to rise as rescue workers continue to tear through the
China's state news agency reported Monday the Chinese government is also offering $1 million in humanitarian assistance.
Rescuers are still trying to reach people trapped in a toppled
apartment building in Concepcion, the country's second-largest city.
Searchers believe as many as 50 people may be trapped alive in the
Looters ransacked stores in Concepcion Sunday, stealing food and
electrical appliances. Police used tear gas and water cannons to
disperse a crowd of looters at one supermarket.
Saturday's early morning quake toppled buildings, overturned cars, damaged roads and bridges and brought down utility lines.
A tsunami triggered by the quake devastated some Chilean coastal towns
and Robinson Crusoe Island, where the wave surged almost three
kilometers into the town of San Juan Bautista.
The surge of water raced across the Pacific Ocean, prompting warnings
and evacuations from Hawaii to Japan, but did little damage.