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Chileans Unhappy With Recovery Effort


March 7, 2010 — A poll published Saturday shows that Chileans are unhappy with their government's response to the devastating earthquake which destroyed at least 500,000 homes.

President Michelle Bachelet waited 36 hours before declaring a 'state of emergency' and significant aid didn't reach the hardest-hit regions for almost three days.

The government has pulled together recently and put out a massive effort, which includes everything from helicopters to heavy equipment.

The U.N. has flown in planeloads of food, enough to feed 35,000 children for a few days.

Meanwhile, Friday's Chilean relief telethon brought in $58 million. Reconstruction costs range from $12 to $30 billion.

Another major crisis officials are dealing with are related to overall health. The quake and tsunami heavily damaged or destroyed some 36 hospitals and turned cities into garbage dumps. Health authorities are concerned that outbreaks of diarrhea and infection will occur among the thousands of displaced people. A hepatitis and tetanus vaccination campaign has recently launched to hopefully curb the potentially dangerous situation. There's also a shortage of medicine because many pharmacies have been looted.

Officials say it's too difficult to determine how many deaths are related to the quake and tsunamis, however the number is being estimated at 452.

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