Aid trickles through to Chile

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Aid trickles through to Chile

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Aid is slowly beginning to arrive in the earthquake-stricken areas of southern Chile.

Four days after the 8.8 magnitude tremor killed around 800, efforts remain concentrated on rescue rather than recovery.

An 18-hour curfew is still in place in the hard-hit city of Concepcion, where troops are patrolling the streets and making sure that aid supplies are properly distributed.

Residents of coastal villages devastated by the post-earthquake tsunami have been trying to save what they can:

“No one from the government has been here,” said one man, “not even to hand out painkillers or offer help. Some people did turn up to help, but no one from the government.”

Destruction is widespread and food is scarce all along the coast.

In Talca, firefighters are checking buildings to find out if they were safe enough for residents to return. There have been several strong aftershocks and its feared many damaged sites will not withstand more tremors.

In Concepcion at least, there are some recognisable signs of normality.

An outdoor mass was held for worshippers as the government began distributing food baskets and water. Some petrol stations have also re-opened.