Chile Has Enough Food, Fuel For Citizens, President Says

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday that the country has enough food and fuel to meet citizens’ needs, Dow Jones Newswires reports. She said the government has adequate resources to enable business recovery and to help rebuild houses, and she wants the private sector to play a major role in the rebuilding effort. “Soon it will be the time to get back on our feet and entrepreneurs will be up to the challenge,” she said, according to the news service.  

“Finance Minister Andres Velasco, standing beside Bachelet, said the government was working on the logistics of ensuring food and fuel delivery. ‘There’s enough for everybody, so there’s no reason to buy more than is needed,’ he said. ‘Those who buy more than they need tie up supermarkets, gasoline stations and (make) other people’s lives more difficult,'” reports Dow Jones Newswires.  

“There are enough inventories in all areas. The port infrastructure is intact. The road infrastructure that connects us with the neighbouring countries is intact,” said Rafael Guilisasti, the president of the Confederation of Production and Commerce, a trade organization that represents most areas of the economy (Seal, 3/3).

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, aid “began to reach the remote coastal areas hardest hit by Saturday’s quake and ensuing tsunami, even as four big aftershocks rattled already nervous residents,” the Wall Street Journal reports. In some areas, relief has been “arriving unevenly … raising worries of disease and lack of clean drinking water. In the industrial hub of Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, some residents have resorted to drinking water out of backyard pools. In recent days, crowds of people have gathered at a small lake outside the city of one million, bathing in the blackened water and using it to wash dishes and flush toilets,” according to the newspaper.

“Health workers said the situation could turn dire in coming days. ‘We could start to see some intestinal and stomach viruses tomorrow or the day after because of the water we’ve been drinking,’ said Marta Aguilera, a paramedic who lives in Lota and works at a nearby hospital in Coronel” (Moffett/Esposito, 3/3).

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