Chilean Government Cracks Down on Looting

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WASHINGTON -- The government is cracking down in Chile, imposing a curfew to stop looting in the ravaged South American country.

The move comes after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake Saturday left hundreds of thousands homeless and more than 700 people dead.

You can help people hurt by disasters by clicking here to give to Operation Blessing Disaster Relief.

Signs of Life

The destruction in the quake-torn region is massive and so is the pressure to find survivors while there's still time.

Yet in the middle of all this tragedy, there are signs of hope.

Rescue workers began drilling through the concrete walls of a collapsed 14-story building after witnesses reported they heard people knocking underneath the rubble.

Meanwhile, in the coastal town of Dichato a woman surveyed what's left of her home after a tsunami barreled through her village. She said she found her mother's shoes and hopes to give them back if she can find her.

Another woman in Curico had a happier ending.

"Thank God," she said. "My children and parents are alive. Now we must summon the strength to move forward.

Saturday's earthquake destroyed about a half million homes and buildings, putting many on the streets without food and water.

Even as some aid begins trickling in, the need for food and water is unmistakable.

Government Imposed Curfew

The government extended a midday curfew in the city of Concepcion so troops could crack down on looters.

One supermarket caught fire shortly after hundreds of looters broke in.

The blaze pulled firefighters away from search and rescue missions so they could prevent the fire from spreading.

One store owner said he was armed because looters have been attacking his shop non-stop.

Outgoing Chilean President Michelle Bachelet called the plundering unacceptable and issued a plea to people's conscience to work together. The government is also asking for international help.

Nature's Warning

The quake serves as a warning for vulnerable cities along the Pacific Ring Of Fire - including major cities along the west coast of the United States and Tokyo - which has more earthquakes than any other large city in the world.

For now, the international community is turning its focus to Chile, where the suffering has already occurred.

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