Posted by: Idioma Extra | March 1, 2010

Monday’s News

Mrs. Bachelet seeks help
in recovery efforts in Chile


Rescue workers in Chile braved aftershocks as strong as 6.9 on the Richter scale to search for survivors amid the rubble Sunday as the country’s president gave the military control over security in the hard-hit city of Concepcion.  As the death toll rose to more than 700 in one of the most powerful earthquakes in a century, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet also appealed for international aid. 

President Bachelet called on the public and the private sector in Chile to help with the recovery effort as offers of aid poured in from around the globe.

She said that as Chile faces the aftermath of Saturday’s earthquake, the country needs help from all civil and military authorities that are able as well as the private sector.  She says the recovery effort would last well into the future. 

The 8.8 magnitude quake damaged or destroyed more than a million homes.  It snapped bridges and ripped apart roads.  The reconstruction work will pose a daunting challenge for president-elect Sebastian Piñera who is scheduled to take office March 11.

At a supermarket in Chile’s second largest city, Concepción, residents made a rush for supplies.  Some said the quake had left them with nothing forcing them to fend for themselves.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse large crowds of looters

Many Chileans are afraid to return to their homes and are sleeping outdoors as the country continues to be jolted by a barrage of aftershocks.

As the country copes with the aftermath of Saturday’s quake, the search for survivors continues.

As many as 50 people are feared trapped in a collapsed apartment building in Concepción.

Speaking through an interpreter, one survivor says he struggled to escape. “It fell when the earthquake occurred but it took me half an hour to get out. They helped me get out because I was on the second floor,” he said.

Chilean officials expect the death toll will continue to rise as recovery teams continue their grim task.

After the massive earthquake hit Saturday, many Chilean seaside communities were battered by tidal waves.  A tsunami swept the seaside town of Talcahuano, seriously damaging port facilities and lifting boats out of the water.  Pictures show shipping containers strewn around and flooded streets.

In the coastal city of Constitución, authorities say there were at least 350 deaths.

North of Constitución, in the city of Llolleo, one man tells how he, his wife and his father were swept away by a massive surge of water after the quake. He says they were leaving in a truck when the water came.  He says something, maybe a branch, hit him in the head and he blacked out.  The man says he has searched everywhere for his wife, including local hospitals, but has not found her.
The rest of the Pacific region appears to have been spared from devastating tsunamis.  In Japan, coastal residents who were evacuated Saturday have returned to their homes.

Dozens of nations and international aid groups have mobilized to provide aid to Chile.

Chile is an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic nation.  Speaking at the Vatican on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI said he is praying for the victims and for all of those affected by the disaster.

Chile experiences frequent seismic activity.  But Saturday’s quake was the country’s strongest since 1960, when a 9.5 magnitude temblor set off tsunamis that killed hundreds of people as far away as Japan and the Philippines.

Word of the Day

Main Entry: af·ter·shock
Function: noun
Date: 1894
1 : a minor shock following the main shock of an earthquake
2 : an aftereffect of a distressing or traumatic event

More Vocabulary

Aftermath: n. the period immediately following a usually ruinous event
Brave: v. to face or endure with courage
Cope: v. to deal with an attempt to overcome problems and difficulties – often used with with
Daunting: adj. tending to overwhelm or intimidate
Looter: n. one who engages in robbing or plundering especially in war
Rubble: n. broken fragments (as of rock) resulting from the decay or destruction of a building
Spare: v. to relieve of the necessity of doing, undergoing or experiencing something
Toll: n. a grievous or ruinous price; especially: cost in life or health

Love those Phrasal Verbs!

Black out: to undergo a temporary loss of vision, consciousness or memory

     Jessica blacked out in the meeting after not eating or drinking anything for 8 hours.

Call on: to ask, appeal to

     The company’s president called on his employees to come up with new marketing ideas for the company’s products.  

Set off: to begin, start

     The company’s massive layoff set off a wave of fear and nervousness among the remaining employees.

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