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Recovering from disaster

 

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Chile's president says it will take three years to rebuild the region wracked by an earthquake and tsunami, something all too clear to the people cleaning up this splintered tourist town. Dichato is nestled between pine-forested hills and a lovely sheltered bay where colorful fishing boats served coastal communities and export companies. Its population of 4,000 triples each January and February with tourists — many were in town when disaster struck — and residents count on that brief summer vacation for much of their income. The quake and tsunami killed at least 19 people in Dichato and smashed neat wooden houses and small hotels into huge splinter piles. The surge ruined most other buildings in town, which stank Thursday with decomposing fish. One fishing boat marooned far inland was full of rotting octopus. President Michelle Bachelet said Thursday that she is confident "Chile will rise" from the devastation — but not as fast as some might want.

 
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