Thousand of troops are being deployed to different parts of Chile, a country recently ravaged by a massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake, to try to prevent looting and criminal acts, Al Jazeera reports.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has doubled the number of troops patrolling the hardest hit areas to almost 14,000. Her government has been accused of mishandling disaster relief efforts, especially because some of the troops are guarding stores full of supplies so desperately needed by the people.
Government officials say until supplies can be distributed fairly, no one is allowed to have any. This in an effort to prevent a survival-of-the-fittest scenario, similar to the one that emerged in Haiti weeks ago.
Hundreds of tons of food, water and aid are being flown in to Chile from abroad, but teams are struggling to distribute the materials evenly.
Residents of Concepcion, a town about 300 miles from the capital city of Santiago, have been the most vocal in their anger over relief efforts. Recently, some members of the town set a store on fire after armed guards prevented them from entering and taking supplies.
Food, water and aid is being distributed, for the first time since the deadly quake, today in Concepcion. Up to now, residents have had to rely on looting, which is becoming harder and harder as guards patrol the area, or on stockpiles of food they may have had before the quake hit.
According to Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo, people in Chile are telling workers that the aid being supplied is not nearly enough. Government officials say they’ve now purchased all the food in Concepcion’s supermarkets and will begin to distribute it evenly shortly.
Secretary of State Hiliary Clinton arrived in Chile on Tuesday with the news that the US will send water purification systems and mobile hospitals very soon.
Clinton met with the country’s president, and plans to meet with the Chile’s president-elect, Sebastian Pinera, soon.
Thus far, 795 people have been found dead. Relief teams are now making their ways to the more isolated but equally hard-hit neighborhoods, where they expect to find many, many more dead.