Tuesday 12 December 2017

Clinton brings help to stricken zone

Matthew Lee in Buenos Aires

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday she will bring 20 satellite phones and a technician with her when she visits earthquake-damaged Chile.

Symbolic gifts are regarded as a token down payment on help the United States intends to provide following the massive quake in Chile last week. Ms Clinton was making a brief stop yesterday in the capital as part of a Latin American trip rearranged because of the disaster.

"We are bringing some of what they asked for which are satellite phones," Ms Clinton told reporters on the way to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"One of their biggest problems has been communications as we found in Haiti in those days after the quake," she said.

She noted that Chile's communications system was much more advanced before the quake than Haiti's, but she said communication with hard-hit Concepcion is difficult.

In Washington, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley says Chile has also asked for a field hospital and water purification systems.

"We are mobilising those capabilities as we speak, and will be moving those down to Chile as quickly as possible," Mr Crowley said.

Ms Clinton noted that Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at first thought her country would not need US help. That changed as the scope of damage became clear.

The earthquake killed more than 700 people. Some coastal towns were almost obliterated.

Irish Independent

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