Unforgettable Scenes Of Chile's Recovery Journalist Annie Murphy arrived in the port city Concepcion, Chile, just a day after a massive earthquake shook the town, followed by a deadly tsunami. In this Reporter's Notebook, she describes some of the most memorable scenes of the past week.

Unforgettable Scenes Of Chile's Recovery

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Im Scott Simon.

Strong aftershocks continued to rock South Central Chile yesterday, nearly a week after a massive earthquake killed hundreds of people and devastated coastal towns.

Annie Murphy reached the port city of Concepcion just a day after the earthquake struck. In this Reporters Notebook she describes some of the most memorable scenes of the past week.

ANNIE MURPHY: Heading to Concepcion, it was hard to know what to expect. Because Chiles airports were closed, I had to take a 15-hour car ride from southern Argentina to the quake zone. And at that first thing seemed normal. People were reading newspapers in cafes and selling corn and nectarines by the roadside. But as I neared Concepcion, the only people I saw were those searching for water. The pavement was cracked, buckled, or caved in, bridges had collapsed, many homes were missing pieces, and telephones polls tilted at wild angles. The sky turned this milky yellow. You could sense that nature was up to something.

The city felt abandoned. With no electricity I could only make out the silhouettes of destroyed buildings in the debris. One apartment buildings top 10 stories had collapsed like a deflated balloon. People were camped out in the plaza, terrified to go indoors. One woman was combing her hair in a mirror by firelight and nearby dogs (unintelligible) owner's feet as if they were at home. The earthquake made private life public. I found myself constantly struck by the everyday habits that people hold onto in a disaster.

Another woman served me tea and biscuits in her living room, which was still littered with shards of glass and broken concrete. Meanwhile, a supermarket burned outside the window, set on fire by looters.

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MURPHY: I also wanted to see how people were faring in the countryside. In the woods near the town of Laraquete, Ruth Diaz(ph) was washing clothes by the side of the road. She was part of a camp of 2,000 people who had fled their town after the sea engulfed it following the quake.

Unidentified Man: (Foreign language spoken)

MURPHY: A full week after the disaster, smaller earthquakes still shutter across the city. People are tired and hungry and they stopped laughing about these aftershocks; instead they stop and stare at the sky or make the sign of the cross. Everyone here knows that the future, be it tomorrow or 10 years from now, is uncertain.

For NPR News, this is Annie Murphy in Concepcion, Chile.

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