The latest grim twist in the tragic aftermath of the earthquake in Chile was a massive blaze which took hold of a department store in Concepcion. It was started, its reported, by looters who have been roaming the streets of the country’s second city.
The violence has spread as shortages of basics like water has continued, the army and police have struggled to restore order despite the government imposing curfews.
“Pillage and criminality” is how the country’s President described these actions and she appealed for an end to the looting.
“I want to call to the people’s conscience, we must all work together, looting and crime is not acceptable,” said President Michelle Bachelet.
Thousands more troops are still being deployed across the devastated city of Concepcion with the total expected to be in the region of 7,000.
The human tragedy continues to envelop the South American country. In a coastal town smashed apart by the tsunami – triggered by the quake – a wake was held in one of the few buildings left standing.
Official figures put the number of dead at over 700. That number will rise as Chile bleeds grief. The country has been ripped apart, mangled roads and power cuts have conspired to slow the vital relief operations.