Chilean President Slams Quake Criticism

SANTIAGO, Chile, March 3 (UPI) — Chilean President Michelle Bachelet faces growing criticism that her government’s response to last week’s earthquake was too little, too late, observers say.

In a radio interview, Bachelet said she resented the allegations against the government, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

“Everyone claims to be a general after the war,” she said.

The military’s emergency response system failed to give timely warning a tsunami might strike, critics say, and they charge the government with being slow to utilize its relief resources, the Times reported.

Such accusations, Bachelet said, were inflaming public anxiety — which she called “collective psychosis” — threatening to create countrywide instability.

“I understand people’s pain and fear,” she said, “but in this period of emergency, unfounded rumors only add to the unease and fear.”

The death toll had exceeded 800 by Wednesday, and overall damage estimates have been as high as $30 billion, the Times reported.

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Categorized | Earthquakes, Military
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