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Chile residents remain in camps in fear of quake aftershocks

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Chile residents remain in camps in fear of quake aftershocks


In Iquique in the far north of Chile, a tent city has become the temporary home for hundreds of residents who headed for high ground when an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast.

Three days on, many fear returning to their houses due to the potential dangers of aftershocks or a tsunami.

Sleepless nights have added to already frayed nerves.

“We left the house to look for things, to stock up on supplies, food…and we didn’t stay in the house because all the walls were falling down,” explains one woman staying in the camp. “We couldn’t stay there. It scares us, it scares us.”

Chilean officials said that water, fuel and electricity were being re-established, but queues for food supplies stretched far down the city’s streets.

Though the death of a newborn due to hypothermia has pushed the death toll to seven, President Michelle Bachelet has been praised for the emergency response to the quake.

It stands in contrast to her advice four years earlier which led to the deaths of 500 people, 156 who were killed by a tsunami.

This time round the government has issued a three month health alert to avoid the spread of infectious diseases from trash and contaminated water caused by rotting fish in port cities.

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