Chilean survivors arm selves against looters
'Nowhere is safe,' says one quake victim in poor neighborhood
TALCAHUANO, Chile - One man swings a thick metal chain. Another grips an ax. An older gentleman favors a wooden pole. And a 20-year-old spoiling for a fight has prepared a garrote — a menacing wire tied between two handles — to confront any intruders.
These and hundreds of other survivors of Chile's devastating earthquake have organized neighborhood watch groups, arming themselves and barricading streets to protect their damaged homes from looters. The groups have stepped in as police were overwhelmed by looting and soldiers were slow to restore order after an earthquake and tsunami.
"We take care of ourselves here," said 51-year-old Maria Cortes.