Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Newsy: Stealing to Survive After Chile Earthquake

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"Many people simply take what they need, looting has spread from store to store in Concepcion, Chile's second largest city. So ten-thousand Chilean soldiers patrol with police to keep order and to help rescue the helpless." 

In the aftermath of Chile's devastating earthquake, it's not only the casualties that are on the rise, it's the looting too. Thousands have taken to the streets grabbing anything they can get their hands on. The issue has prompted mandatory curfews across several cities.

We're looking at reactions from, CNN, NPR, ITN, and Fox News.

Much of the looting comes as a backlash for the lack of aid being offered. Many say they loot because they need to survive, because the government has not properly handled the situation. A woman on ITN pleads with authorities to send assistance: "We need more food, more food and water. We call on the authorities to make their presence known in this place. To not leave us so alone, because really yesterday the children we're crying because they were hungry. They were tearing their hair out."

But not everything is being taken for survival. Reports say that looting has gone beyond the desire for just food and water. A reporter for Fox News tells how desire has turned to greed: "Basically every single market place was ransacked. And a lot of times you have a natural disaster, people become sort of desperate, they do loot out of necessity. It was very obvious and in fact was being condemned by many Chileans, the unbridaled stealing of consumer goods like plasma TV's and everything of value from some of these stores."

In an effort to restore order, the government has deployed military troops throughout several cities in Chile. 
A reporter for NPR describes the military presence in the city of Concepcion: "You notice immediately that the streets have been taken over by the authorities, by the military, Marines and Army soldiers. And that's because of heavy looting over the last day, so that demonstrates that aid has not come in, at least not in a significant quantity, because people had to storm the stores here in Concepcion."

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, condemned the looting, saying it will not be tolerated. The warning has had little effect, as mobs continue to loot from stores. Some looters told CNN's Soledad O'brein they feel justified.: "The looters are very aggressive, and I asked, I said, why are you stealing this, why are you taking this? They said, you know because it's there, we can, it's available, we're angry, no one's here helping us. A whole myriad of reasons. No one seems that desperate 48 plus hours after the earthquake. It seems more of an anger about a lack of resources here and a lack of feeling like people are focused on whats happening here."

Writer: Maurice Scarborough


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