- Title: CHILE: Refugee's from Chile's devastated coast flock to the city of Talca
- Date: 2nd March 2010
- Summary: CHILDREN PLAYING IN CAMP
- Embargoed: 16th March 2010 23:16
- Location: Chile
- Country: Chile
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVA4RM19LL1RYHOM7YIV6XJNJY1V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The Chilean coastal resort town of Pichilemu, world renowned for it's surfing, was severely damaged by the tsunami that accompanied Chile's earthquake.
Very few buildings remained standing on Monday (March 1). Boats were swept considerable distances onto land by the massive wave.
"I saw it very clearly. It looked like a massive snake, with water behind it. The mass of water was maybe a meter and a half high, and swept away everything in it's path," said Jose Gonzalez, a local resident and employee of city hall.
On the road between Pichilemu and Talca, dozens of cars were lined up for gas. Many had already run out, and had to be pushed to the pumps by passengers and gas station employees.
"We pushed the car all the way from the back of the line, all the way from the back," said one woman, who asked only to be identified as Rene.
Meanwhile, in the city of Talca itself, makeshift refugee camps had sprung up. Displaced people slept in their cars, or in improvised tents.
Rosa Sanchez, a local of Talca, complained that city officials had not paid enough attention to the plight of those whose homes were destroyed and who now lived in the camp.
"The authorities haven't came around here to check on us at all. Nobody has come to see how we are doing. We don't have coal, bread, nothing to eat. Nothing," she said.
Apartment blocks in Talca were devastated by the earthquake. Ana Maria Williams, a local resident, said that her apartment had collapsed, and two of the other residents were lightly wounded by debris and falling objects.
"The whole house is destroyed. Half the house fell completely. Thank god, only two people were injured, lightly. One of them was hit in the head with a coffee mug or something that fell. The other suffered from contusions," she said.
Major Reynaldo Zeilaide of the Chilean Army said forces under his command were prepared to offer humanitarian and sanitary assistance to the people of Talca and other regions of southern Chile affected by the earthquake.
"The situation in the entire south of the country is rather chaotic. There are many hospitals that have been damaged. We (the army) as an institution will help the community with sanitation and other assistance," he said.
The 8.8 magnitude quake on Saturday killed 711 people and the death toll was expected to rise.
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