Friday, April 4, 2014

Military Deployment for Earthquake Far Quicker Than in 2010

 Earthquake patrol duty, once more
The armed forces have fanned out across the north of Chile to help maintain security and provide assistance after the April 1 earthquake. Army, Air Force and Marine patrols have been stationed in supermarkets, gasoline stations and neighborhoods. The Air Force (FACh) flew more than 35 tons of relief equipment, using a pair of C-130 Hercules and two KC-135 transport planes. The military's quick deployment was a far cry from the February 2010 earthquake, when President Michelle Bachelet took two days to send out the troops, and only after looting had become widespread. This time, she had soldiers out in a matter of hours, and military commanders were given authority over the three regions most affected by the quake. Coordination among the armed forces, police and the national emergency service seems to have gone smoothly. Most Chilean communities absorbed the 8.2-magnitude quake well enough, so there was no opportunity for the armed forces to use their field hospitals. The Army's 2nd Armored Brigade in Iquique did set up a medical treatment center. The Navy had enough time to move all its ships out of port before the tsunami struck, although the waves turned out to be moderate. The multirole ship Aldea had to be hustled out of a repair yard but still made it out to sea. In the 2010 earthquake and tsunami, the naval base and shipyard in Talcahuano suffered extensive damage.

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