Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Chile quake survivor describes fear amid Talca curfew

Bodies lie in the street in Talca, Chile (Picture: Luis Felipe Ramirez Rojas)
At least 85 people were killed in the Chilean city of Talca

Troops in Chile are struggling to contain looting in some of the areas worst hit by Saturday's huge earthquake. Luis Felipe Ramirez Rojas is in Talca, which is about 200km (125 miles) from the epicentre of the quake.

Here, he describes the situation on the ground as his city struggles to recover and keep order days after the quake hit.

I am happy to be alive but it is really awful to see my city of Talca like this. Our city was badly damaged in the quake, particularly the old part of the town.

We are not the worst-hit, but it is still hard on us. It was a very scary experience.

The day after the quake we heard that 85 people had been killed here, but have not been given any updates on the number of dead since.

One nightclub collapsed and around 10 people were killed inside.

Quake damage on the streets of Talca (Picture: Luis Felipe Ramirez Rojas)
There was looting going on in the first day or two but our neighbours kept the robbers away
I saw three bodies being pulled from the rubble the next morning and laid out on the street in front of me.

My family's home was badly damaged but did not collapse.

We managed to save some of our furniture because it is still standing.

My family and I had to go stay with my aunt, whose house is newer and was not badly damaged.

Our neighbours protected our house from being looted by taking over the corners of each of the surrounding streets to keep out the looters.

There was looting going on in the first day or two but our neighbours kept the robbers away.

The military arrived on Monday to take control and are patrolling the streets, after imposing a curfew between midnight and 0600.

But our neighbours remain on the streets with them, after receiving permits to stay out on the corners at night.

The government is telling us it will help us to rebuild our houses, so hopefully we can recover.

We went two days without electricity and water but now it has been restored in my aunt's area of town.

Some of my friends are still without water and electricity supplies, so I have told them to come over and use our facilities if they need to.

Thankfully, all of my friends and family are fine, but they are scared.

The hospital here was damaged - part of it collapsed - so a temporary hospital is being put up to receive people from nearby areas.

They are only treating emergencies.

Help is not really getting out to us fast, but there are others worse off than us.

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