Clinton arrives in Chile as quake toll climbs

The official death toll from Saturday's earthquake in Chile has risen to 795 as the country struggles to bring looting under control, MiNDFOOD reports.

Crime continues to be a problem despite an 18-hour curfew being imposed in the wake of the 8.8-magnitude quake.

In Concepcion, people are setting up armed groups to defend themselves against looters and criminals.

But Chile’s president says looting is being brought under control now 14,000 troops are out in force around the region.

Troops imposed a curfew that was extended from 8.00pm to 12.00am, while rescuers continued to search for survivors.

Aftershocks are continuing to rattle the area and many areas are still cut off, but help is starting to get through.

United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has arrived with satellite phones for the regions where phones have mostly been cut off.

Senator Clinton says the US is ready to help in any way but it will not be sending troops as it did for Haiti.

“The people of Chile are responding with resilience and strength,” she said.

“The United States is ready to respond to the requests that the government of Chile has made so that we can provide specific supplies that are needed to help you recover from the earthquake.”

Water and food are scarce in some areas and are among the main items targeted by looters.

Latin American countries have sent food, water purification plants and medical supplies. Brazil has sent a field hospital.

A 30-person medical team is set to arrive from Cuba.

Travel remains difficult in Chile as roads and bridges have been damaged and airports are still mostly closed.

2008 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


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