LOOTING! Helpless police ...

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Stay calm ... business as usual ... everything's gonna be fine ... don't need any provisions ... nothing bad can happen ... treat Y2K just like a little ole natural disaster ... sleep ... sleep ...

Here we go, Yourdynamites, FACTS! re the human response in natural disasters. Mother Nature is ever-so-accomodatingly providing us with a rash of disasters for our Y2K training wheels. Remember, 1998 was the world's most disaster-intensive-expensive year on record.

Just popped up on Breaking News for our edification:

Helpless And Unable To Fight Hunger, Police Watch Looting

1/27/99 -- 4:19 PM
ARMENIA, Colombia (AP) - More than 50 police officers watched helplessly as scores of desperate Colombians dashed into the Central Supermarket to loot it of all its contents.

People grabbed anything they could: rice, coffee, potatoes, beans, stuffing it all into huge sacks. The officers' only concern was safety; the cracked building that police had marked off with protective yellow tape shook with each passing truck or ambulance.

``Hurry up, let's go, old one!'' an officer yelled to an elderly woman entering the rickety structure.

Throughout the city, police overwhelmed by the magnitude of Monday's earthquake and a series of frightening aftershocks, enabling residents short on food and water to sack stores.

``We're with them because the people are hungry,'' said one patrolman who identified himself as ``Chiquito.''

``The problem is that we don't have the equipment to control rioting. We tried to stop them, but they began to throw rocks at us,'' said police Lt. Jorge Duque. ``You can't fight against hunger.''

Sacked items weren't limited to food. One shoeless man emerged from the supermarket carrying a sack of food and a dozen brooms. Teen-agers waved their friends on inside; others looked warily at the ceiling of the unstable structure.

Jorge Hernandez, 35, and four friends trolled the devastated city center, apparently in search of booty. ``The people are taking things because the stores are destroyed,'' Hernandez explained.

A block away, an angry crowd jostled Alberto Gutierrez, a 43-year-old who had taken 20,000 pesos - the equivalent of $13 - from the remains of a hardware store.

``I'm not stealing!'' he pleaded as two men hit him on the head, one with a flashlight. ``Insurance will cover it.''

Rescue workers had already entered the same store in this city 140 miles west of Bogota, taking tape, flashlights and other items needed for their work.

Several blocks away, hundreds of people sacked the Olympica Market, part of a national chain. The half-block-long structure had a dangerous crack running along the front wall, which was propped up by wooden beams.

The looting there began when a crowd surged past three security guards. ``What are you going to do?'' said guard Cesar Augusto Ruiz. Someone threw a rock through a window of the store, frightening those inside who thought another quake had struck. A man fled with a box of motor oil, another with a wooden plank, a third with a TV set atop his head.
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-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), January 27, 1999


Only took two days for the shock of the earthquake to wear off to the point of all-out looting. People will not have the Act Of God mentality about Y2K; they already know it's a man-made disaster that should have been prevented. People are already angry about Y2K.

Notice the rescuers and police helped themselves to the items necessary to do their work, and had understanding for the public hunger. Very interesting. Society crumbles quickly. We don't know what we are in for. Stock up.

mmmmmmm mmmmmmm mmmmmmm mmmmmmm mmmmmmm mmmmmmm mm

-- Ashton (allaha@earthlink.net), January 27, 1999.

Thanks, Leska, for a lesson in human behavior.

I'd like to point out three interesting features:

(1) The police seemed to sympathize with the hungry folks, and apparently weren't too eager to stop the looting.

(2) This was less than 72 hours after the earthquake.

(3) These people had supermarkets -- one a "half-block long" and part of a "national chain".....this isn't a little rural backwater we're talking about. These are people just like us...TV sets at home, probably would have been watching soccer games, dependent upon electricity, food deliveries to their supermarkets, etc. They ran out of food in less than three days, and started storming their supermarkets.

I tell you, there are times when I don't think it could get worse -- and then it does....

Anita E.

-- Anita Evangelista (ale@townsqr.com), January 27, 1999.

Time for more research and pressure on the food chain.

-- Other Lisa (LisaWard2@aol.com), January 27, 1999.

We tried to stop them, but they began to throw rocks at us...

Hmmmm, our USA police guys n gals have AR-15's, saw 'em blasting at the range this noon....

-- runway cat (runway_cat@hotmail.com), January 27, 1999.

After the remnants of Fran put out the lights in Durham, NC, a couple of years ago.

First Day:

Road-block is set up at border with next county which contains high-rent town. Deputies allow only county residents in; cite looting of empty and damaged homes as reason. Road block lasts until power is restored.

Second Day:

50 generators are delivered to Home Depot. Fight breaks out.

Gas station runs out of gas. Fight breaks out.

Power is restored in high-crime areas. (Work begins in other areas next day. Rural areas are last, some without power for two weeks or more.)

(Above three heard via police scanner, not reported by media.)

Old Git almost gets clobbered by country club type, teribly upset because Old Git got last bag of ice in Kroger delivery. (There was an orderly queue and I didn't push anyone out of the way. It was only the second day. . . Knew there was ice at Kroger because cops told each other about it!)

Only two days. And only a relatively small brush with a hurricane. People were well aware the storm was coming but very few people were prepared. Y2K? Nobody wants to know.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), January 27, 1999.

Since you mention scanners, the political economy thereof highly resembles other themes on this NG:

http://www.a ngelfire.com/sc/ScannerNet/issues.html

-- runway cat (runway_cat@hotmail.com), January 27, 1999.

I didn't notice LA's "finest" protecting the Korean store owners from looting a while back.

The Koreans banded together with uncle AK and went to work.

Same for some local residents that sat at the end of their cul-de-sac with some AR's and watched the looters pass on by...

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), January 27, 1999.

And the KEY point is ...

When something happens unexpectedly AND people are unprepared, a tiger gets turned loose. Y2K is the tail of the tiger for our government and other special forces.

IF they do NOT prepare people, and continue with the dis-information campaigns, then they will have no choice but to let go of the tiger come 2000. It just might turn on them.

And, unfortunately, on us too.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), January 27, 1999.

Andy is right. Colt should start a new ad campaign, a take off on the "Got Milk?". Pictures of less than famous ordinary folks holding AR-15s with the sub title "Got Guns?" The mobs will go after the easy targets, getting shot tends to ruin ones day.

-- Bill (y2khippo@yahoo.com), January 27, 1999.

Thanks, Runway Cat. I knew it was illegal to sell/use a scanner with cell (but not cordless) phone eavesdropping capability, but didn't know there were moves afoot to ban scanners completely. I'll check into this further. Meanwhile, it wouldn't hurt to buy your TrunkTracker now. (Not from Radio Shack, their point-of-sale system has a complete record of you and your purchases.)

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), January 27, 1999.

Just watched the video of the Columbian looting on CNN. Those Columbian cops were armed with uzi machine pistols, thank fully they had the good sense and compassion not to use them on the crowds.

-- Nikoli Krushev (doomsday@y2000.com), January 27, 1999.

If they'd used the Uzi's on the crowds it probably would have brought down the government, which is shaky anyway. That's what cultural homogeneity will do for a country - Columbian police have Uzi's, don't use them, even use terms of endearment with the old lady looters.

Here, it'll be a different story. We despise and ridicule Chittum's hypothesis, but a similar incident here where the AR-15's were brought to bear, by government authorities, might well bring down the house.

And no, Juanito, I'm NOT Chittum!


-- runway cat (runway_cat@hotmail.com), January 27, 1999.

Oops, showing my "domesticus" underbelly, I meant M-16's of course...

-- runway cat (runway_cat@hotmail.com), January 27, 1999.

Looting Frenzy In Quake City

Violence has erupted in the Colombian city ripped apart by an earthquake after hundreds of desperate survivors went on the rampage looting shops.

Mobs of residents, angry at the slow pace of relief efforts and driven by hunger, broke into stores in Armenia to cart off armfuls of powdered milk, bottled water and canned foods.

Riot police backed by army troops fired bursts of automatic gunfire into the air but were largely unable to quell the frenzy.

The chaos came as the Red Cross confirmed the death toll from Monday's quake had climbed to 878 with more than 3,400 people injured.

But those numbers are expected to rise as the debris is cleared. One official in Armenia predicted the final death toll there would reach 2,000.

Rescue teams have arrived from Britain and the United States, but hope of finding new survivors is dwindling fast.

'It isn't stealing'
At least six civilians were injured in Wednesday's disturbances as people threw rocks at riot police.

One looter said: "It isn't stealing. The store's totally destroyed, and nobody has a house, nobody has food. All this is to share with the people."

Several officials said they were reluctant to crack down on people who had spent more than 48 hours without food or drink.

"What can I do if people are dying of hunger?" asked one policeman.

$3m in disaster relief
The quake, measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, created a disaster zone that covered 20 towns and villages in five provinces in Colombia's central coffee-region. Landslides triggered by the quake's eight aftershocks also cut off many areas.

There is considerable confusion as to who survived and who was killed. Hopes of finding survivors are fading fast.

The Health Ministry has declared an official emergency. There are appeals for blood donors for the living and coffins and refrigerated trucks to store the dead. Doctors from across the region have also been called in.
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-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), January 27, 1999.

It was reported on UK TV news (ITV) last night that the supermarket had attempted to cash in on the catastrophe by raising its prices fourfold, and it was this which triggered the looting.

Are you surprised at this, or that the police did nothing? I'm not. Had they maintained prices unchanged and maybe institututed rationing so everyone got a fair share, you might have seen a self-enforced queue instead. Asking for money at all is an insult, if your money is buried in rubble along with the dead bodies of your family.

-- Nigel Arnot (nra@maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk), January 28, 1999.

I grew up in a "bad" neighborhood. Rioting broke out for no reason at all. These made the LA riots look like a peace rally. A man was shot and killed in front of my aunt's house. I spent many nights over a friend's because it wasn't safe to go home. I was mugged waiting for a bus, attacked at school, saw a girl's set on fire. I've seen the look in their eyes. I've seen the ugly side of human nature and it isn't pretty. This look doesn't happen over night; it takes years of hatred, anger, depression, proverty. My feeling is that these people in Columbia had that look long before the quake.

My prediction: if you live in a peaceful community, it will remain a peaceful community after 1/1/00. In the areas with rioting, it will be business as ususal. You learn how to cope after a while.

Troll Maria

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), January 28, 1999.

Heaven help us if the shit hits the fan!! Thank god I have been preparing ....

-- Dave (dave22@concentric.net), January 28, 1999.

Mayhem Mounting

Mayhem Mounting

Colombian President Heads to Earthquake-Ravaged Area

By Jared Kotler, The Associated Press
A R M E N I A, Colombia, Jan. 28  Alarmed by growing mayhem, President Andres Pastrana has rushed to western Colombias earthquake-ravaged coffee country to stop looting by hundreds of survivors and get a logjammed relief effort moving.

The magnitude 6 earthquake flattened cities and towns across western Colombia, rattling buildings as far away as the capital, Bogota, 140 miles from the epicenter.

Shouting We are hungry! men and women sacked dozens of stores in the worst-hit city of Armenia, carting away such essentials as drinking water and foodbut also liquor, furniture, TV sets and anything else they could get their hands on.

In the neighboring city of Pereira, looters smashed open doors, windows and metal barriers to get at store shelves. Outside one market, they shouted at police, fists raised into the air, ignoring warning shots. Police failed to stop them with their billy clubs.

The police and army tried to control the mob, but it was impossible, said Quindio state Gov. Henry Gomez.

Were hungry, and we cant get by hungry, said Freddy Guerrero, a carpenter who, like hundreds of others, emerged from Armenias Central Supermarket carrying bags of rice, milk and beans. Im desperate.

The toll from Mondays magnitude-6 earthquake reached 878 dead and more than 3,410 injured, Red Cross spokeswoman Maria Perrelet said.

A team of 62 U.S. rescue experts flew to Colombia. Japan was also sending rescue personnel and a shipment of medical supplies, generators, and tents.

Authorities report that regional hospitals have far exceeded their capacity to handle the wounded and began airlifts of the most seriously injured to Bogota and other cities.

Calls were broadcast throughout Colombia for food, clothing, blankets, mattresses, and even coffins for the dead. Search and rescue officials say they expect the death toll to rise as more debris is cleared and to eventually exceed 1,000 in the 17 cities, towns and villages rocked by the quake. At least 100,000 people were left homeless.

Food Running Short
With food and drinking water in scant supply, Pastrana hurried to Armenia to direct the relief effort himself and ordered scores of military police onto the streets to restore order.

Pastrana said more than 240 tons of food had been shipped to Armenia and insisted that delays in distributing it will be eliminated.

The tragedy is so great that no Colombian could imagine it, he declared, appealing for calm. This process wont be solved from one day to the next.

Some 25,000 military food rations were being distributed to the hungry, Defense Minister Rodrigo Lloreda said. Reconstruction costs were expected to exceed $100 million, said Interior Minister Nestor Humberto Martinez.

About 2,000 additional civilian and military police were being called to the region, said Gen. Rosso Serrano, director of the national police.

Coffee Crop Seems Intact
Mondays quake devastated a vast area of Colombias coffee belt. This years crop  second-largest in the world after Brazil  was not expected to be seriously affected even though several processing plants were damaged, agricultural officials said.

Search-and-rescue teams from the United States, Mexico, Japan and Britain scrambled over and into dozens of collapsed buildings, looking for more victims, alive and dead.

Sparks lit up the drizzly cool night in downtown Armenia as helmeted Japanese rescuers in crisp red jumpsuits cut through twisted steel girders with a chain saw.

They hoped to find life below a 150-foot-high pile of rubble  the remains of a five-story building that buried as many as two dozen people who were having lunch Monday in a first-floor cafeteria.

There is a tremendous lack of coordination. Everyone is working on their own, said Colombian firefighter Raul Gonzalez, who was searching a collapsed hotel a block away. There is no central command point, which is critical in this kind of emergency.

At least three people were rescued Wednesday, including a 65-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy taken from a collapsed six-story apartment building.

Rescue Efforts Continue
Onlookers cheered and clapped when the boy, David Acevedo, was found alive after 44 hours under heavy cement slabs. He drank his own urine to survive, his mother said.

Such moments of joy were few.
Tears streaming down his face, Oscar Bernando Lopez begged rescuers to find his wife, Miriam Consuelo, and sons Edison, 22, and Oscar, 7, buried under tons of concrete and wood.

There is scratching below, there is scratching, he insisted. Please, bring some machinery, help save my wife and children.

Dozens of survivors, many in tears, went before Colombian TV cameras to tell anyone they might know who was watching that they were safe but needed help.

Amid the chaos, dazed children walked the streets, looking for their parents. Many people chose to leave Armenia, and cars choked the road leading to Cali.

Do you know how I can get a ride to Medellin? asked Daniel Romero, a 90-year-old survivor who lost his home and wanted to reach his son in the northwestern city. He said he had no money.

At sundown, police with machine guns took up positions on street corners of downtown Armenia, frisking young men. Home and store owners donned white bandanas and armed themselves to guard their property.

Juan Pablo Rodriguez, a private security guard, stood alone on a pitch-black side street in front of a savings and loan, armed only with a revolver.
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-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), January 28, 1999.

News reports getting more & more interesting apropo Y2K.
Notice how city is being militarized, neighborhood vigilante groups have formed, and workers are being drafted. Etc.

Military Crackdown In Quake Area

ARMENIA, Colombia, Jan. 27  After a day of widespread looting, survivors of Colombias earthquake woke up Thursday to a militarized area thats short of food, water and  for 250,000 people  homes.
Shortages are quickly shortening tempers.

PRESIDENT ANDRES Pastrana ordered a military crackdown in Armenia after a day of looting and vowed speed up relief to about 250,000 people left homeless in Armenia and two dozen other towns.

Some 2,000 more soldiers and 700 policeman were being sent to the region, where the death toll on Thursday neared 900.

Arriving in Armenia late Wednesday, Pastrana said he would personally take charge of the relief operation and stay in the city for about three days. I have come to impose order ... We will work to resolve the problems and distribute food adequately to avoid what happened today, he said.

Despite a massive response both in Colombia and abroad to appeals for aid for survivors, virtually none has reached Armenia, where many families spent a third night huddled under improvised shelters in front of their ruined homes.

And government officials were unable to explain why most of the 95 tons of relief aid still remained on the tarmac of Armenias airport late Wednesday.

On Wednesday, thousands of survivors, tired of waiting for government aid to arrive, took matters into their own hands, smashing their way into scores of stores in Armenia and carrying off food and water as well as shoes, jewelry and compact discs.

What started as an isolated incident quickly degenerated in a rampage that engulfed the entire downtown area.

Some residents threw rocks at police, who responded by firing bursts of automatic gunfire into the air.

Television images showed similar scenes in the nearby town of Calarca where police made half-hearted attempts to stop scores of people stripping the shelves of a local supermarket.

The looting continued even as aftershocks rattled the crumbling buildings.

No food has arrived, weve been forced to rob this, said Jose Fernandez, gripping his spoils as he emerged from one store. I havent eaten since the quake, he added as fellow raiders lugged crates of soda, bags of potatoes and boxes of detergent.

Luis Valderrama and two friends pushed a supermarket cart loaded with goods to their home. It isnt stealing, he said. The stores totally destroyed, and nobody has a house, nobody has food. All this is to share with the people.

Armenia police Chief Col. Dagoberta Garcia watched helplessly, saying We dont have the capacity to stop it.

A 12-year-old trapped under rubble since Monday afternoon peers out at his rescuer Wednesday.

Apart from the looting, the region is also seeing a shortage of coffins and price gouging by those who have them. The Colombian government pledged coffins to any families that need them, but a local governor acknowledged the shortage, as relief workers wrapped bodies in black plastic or blankets and left them on the streets two days after one of Colombias worst earthquakes.

And many victims couldnt even find medical help. You dont know where I can find a doctor? asked Fernando Gomez, who said his children  who have only eaten bread and sugar water since Monday  were suffering from a virus.

As night fell fearful locals set up well-armed neighborhood vigilante squads to fend off further raids.

Armenias police station was leveled by Mondays quake and with many police officers drafted into the rescue effort they were ill-prepared to confront the small gangs that roamed the streets, disobeying a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

We have asked citizens to set up security fronts in their neighborhoods because they were being terrorized by groups of three or four people, one police captain said. We gave them the direction, but it was their decision to arm themselves, he said in the affluent northern part of Armenia.

The vigilante groups, which gathered on street corners around campfires, were armed with an array of machetes, shotguns, pistols and even Molotov cocktails.

The problem is that certain people are robbing everything they find and were protecting ourselves from that, said Alexander Moreno, a vigilante who had wrapped a white T-shirt around his head like a turban.

While security officials deplored the violence, they acknowledged that the disturbances were fueled by hunger and desperation.

Amid the chaotic scenes on the streets, the slow search for survivors continued. Spirits were briefly lifted early in the day when two teenage boys were pulled alive from the ruins where they had been trapped for more than 40 hours.

But rescue workers, who used their bare hands to haul aside the rubble, said the latest figures from the Red Cross  883 killed and 3,626 injured  was low and would go far higher.

Specialist earthquake teams from the United States, Mexico, Japan and Britain arrived Wednesday with dogs and equipment, including video probes to determine if any survivors remain under the tons of rubble.

Colombias worst natural disaster occurred in November 1985 when some 25,000 people were buried alive in an avalanche of mud and rocks from the Nevado del Ruiz volcano. Aid poured in from around the world but much of it vanished, allegedly into the hands of corrupt government officials.

Not only survivors, but also Colombian officials and the United States Agency for International Development criticized the relief effort so far.

Hugh Parmer, a USAID official, told reporters in Washington that its not being very well coordinated.

Earlier, one Colombian official said the Red Cross, civil defense and firefighters each operated like separate groups. We have a big problem, he said on condition of anonymity. Everything is bureaucracy. We are in meetings while thousands of people are dying under the rubble.
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-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), January 28, 1999.

"No food has arrived, weve been forced to rob this, said Jose Fernandez, gripping his spoils as he emerged from one store. I havent eaten since the quake,

read "I haven't eaten since New Years Day"

I'm more and more thinking about a gun lately. I mentioned to my husband we should get a hunting riffle, "you know... so we can hunt for meat and stuff..." I thought he was going to tie me up and bring me to the State mental hospital, the way he reacted. *sigh*

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), January 28, 1999.

Chris, no kidding. By not owning one, you're more likely to land on Darwin's to-do list, it seems, but I don't care. Karma works. I hope. Has so far.

Plus then I'd have to formulate "field" plans - which sickens me.

-- Lisa (lisax@shallnot.com), January 28, 1999.

"God made some men big and God made some men small. Sam Colt made them equal."

- Author Unknown

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), January 28, 1999.

Chris & Lisa, hear you!

We too, lean on our tremendous store of good karma to get us to the other side of eternity for a llooonnnngggg stay -- it had better be forever! -- in a much better place with consciousness of the Lord's presence heightened and immediate at all times.

Think it's smart to have guns and know all about them and have had lots of practice using them. Valuable skill. Awful too, because then one plans to use them to kill. Because otherwise somebody will kill you; self-defense a natural instinct. We certainly do not want to be hurt either, and I don't think I'd have any problem at all shooting somebody trying to damage me or mine. But the little problem of not enough money/time/inclination for gun handling ... also a gun around would pose a temptation for a quick easy exit in case of suffering or trouble. Sticky topic. But thinking about it more & more.

It *would* be nice to be in a fortress community where those who have experience with guns and defense could ply their trade around the perimeter while us more gentle wimps could serve within.

This year will be very interesting. Wish could see how/where/when will end up. Back to relying on God more + more, funny how it always circles back to Him. He's making us haul brawn prepping. I want a permanent vacation!

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-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), January 28, 1999.

"It *would* be nice to be in a fortress community where those who have experience with guns and defense could ply their trade around the perimeter while us more gentle wimps could serve within."

We should seriously think about making the FRL community real. I dream about it all the time now.

There, I said it. Yes, I've gone over the edge, "sane" people forced me to. If I think too much I just want to curl up and die and get it over with.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), January 28, 1999.

Thanks for the updates Leska!

Natural disasters still on the increase. Y2K aside, long-term preparation is the only prudent way to go.

When everything crumbles, what you have left is what's inside and what you can do with it to help yourself, and others.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), January 28, 1999.

HeeHeehehehe, Chris, we think about it a lot too. We believe colonies of like-minded kindred souls are the key to a peaceful future. Probably won't blossom in our lifetime, but our dreaming helps blaze the trail in the ether.

What we think about a lot can materialize. After all, we materialized Diane from cyberspace sig to physical reality in front of our eyes. :) Have seen many wistful wisps of collective yearning for community on these threads, and heard many people voice that colony desire in real life.

When I want to curl up and die, it's to evade it entirely. But working with death all the time, have maybe more magnetic attraction to death than most. Yet, we're prepared to survive if it's @ 3 months of infrastructure disruption minus civil unrest anywhere near us (Yeah, yeah, dream on ... ). Never seen anyone die curled up. Everybody so far has been flat on back; these are "expected death" pts . Am sure Chuck tnd could tell us more about curl ratios.

Chris, if Yourdon Land materializes, you will have a welcome spot etched in stone bunker, and we'll cheer when you arrive! :)

1999 is for living and enjoying and counting our many blessings and revelling in the marvel of modern civilization (when one thinks it's about to be lost, easy to appreciate and not dwell on flaws). And just maybe, to work the miracle of pulling together community. It is possible, isn't it, Diane :) :)

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia, working overtime to raise calm awareness

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-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), January 28, 1999.

Colombia how many tons of drugs have been shiped from that small country to the U.S.A.? How many people have died and how mutch tax money have we spent trying to stop it? If there is a drug war we are at war with these people why should we help them so they can ship more drugs here? Is America scared the shipments will slow or stop?

-- Bubba (Badhabbit@world.com), January 28, 1999.

There was a reference to relatively calm communites will "stay calm" and in riot-prone areas, it will be business as usual.

Not so. People in relatively calm areas have not been faced with the potential of starvation and continuous disruption of "community services" before. Severe panic escalation will ensue.

-- Mr. Kennedy (y2kPCfixes@MotivatedSeller.com), January 28, 1999.

Come on Mr. Kennedy. We've had numerous earthquakes in CA, snow storms paralized the parts of the country, floods and hurricanes left people homeless. People had days without power and "community services". Outside this event, I don't recall any riots breaking out. Please someone refresh my memory. I believe in the face of a crisis a person's true colors come out. Good people will help; rioters will riot. I also don't believe in TEOTWAWKI; the infrastructure will remain just like deJager predicts.

Troll Maria

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), January 28, 1999.

Troll Maria,

That's not what de Jager predicted a while back - why do you think he has done a u-turn???


-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), January 29, 1999.

Ashton and Leska:

It breaks out about even between "as they fell as they were felled" disregarding the method of felling (if you take the meaning); flat on back (in facilities usually), or front (see above); and in decorticate (stretched out) and decerberate (curled in ) posturing, depending on how long it takes and the reason for the death.


-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), January 29, 1999.

Thanks, Chuck. Best info from those who've been there, done that.
This Forum is so great! Always a rush to get back to.
Here's some horrifyingly real Y2K-pertinent updates on Columbia disaster:

Thousands Flee Quake-Ravaged City

ARMENIA, Colombia, Jan. 30  Thousands of people made homeless by a powerful earthquake boarded buses, pickup trucks and horse-drawn carriages Saturday in a scramble to get out of this unruly and increasingly pestilent city. The remoteness of the region hit by the earthquake, and a shortage of water, are creating major problems.

MANY WERE FRUSTRATED with the governments disorganized effort to restore order and deliver relief supplies to areas devastated by Mondays magnitude-6 quake, which killed at least 940 people across Colombias western coffee-growing region.

A magnitude-4.3 aftershock rattled the area early Saturday, causing alarm but no reports of damage or injury.

Despite a combined police and military presence approaching 6,000, looters sacked several more Armenia markets on Saturday, taking furniture, mirrors, fans, mattresses, stoves, computers and other goods. Thirty-seven people were arrested.

At a few stores, vastly outnumbered police were unable to stop the looting by hungry survivors and instead tried to maintain order to prevent a repeat of Fridays violence, in which angry looters clashed with police.

A few stores reopened for the first time since the quake, including a supermarket that was heavily guarded by soldiers with automatic rifles and tear gas launchers.

Colombian rescuers continued sifting through dozens of disaster sites, looking for the hundreds of missing, but some foreign rescue teams went home, convinced that the chance of finding life beneath the ruins had run out. The last time a survivor was pulled from the rubble was Wednesday.

Passers-by wore surgical masks and handkerchiefs to ward off the unbearable stench of trapped bodies decaying, which combined with the smell of feces and urine in the streets.

Doctors are watching the situation carefully, fearful of a health crisis. So far, there have been only small outbreaks of stomach and breathing problems.

At Armenias Eden Airport, residents attempting to leave on relief aircraft were stopped by rows of helmeted riot police. About 50 families with suitcases and boxes had lined up at dawn, lured by rumors of free flights on relief planes returning empty to the capital, Bogota.

The air force, which is flying dozens of relief missions daily, said it had taken more than 600 people with relatives in Bogota back to the capital before Saturday. But they stopped taking residents. HEART-WRENCHING DESPERATION
Patricia Escobar was trying to evacuate her 3-year-old nephew, who has Down Syndrome. Doctors told her the boy was vulnerable to infections from the fetid air blanketing Armenia, which hasnt had running water since Monday.

Nelly Jaramillo, a mother of three with family in Bogota, looked angrily at the police barricade, and said the shortages and roaming bands of thieves had made life unbearable.

The gangs are attacking the barrios to steal the little food we have, she said. The rations theyre giving out arent enough to feed the children.

Many refugees took free bus rides offered by the government. But as word got around, there werent enough buses to take the crowds forming at staging points around the city.

More than 500 people gathered at a soccer stadium to take buses to Cali, Ibague and Manizales  all cities within a close radius of the earthquake zone.

People wanting to go any farther would have to pay their own way, said Transport Ministry official Reynaldo Uribe. That angered 26-year-old security guard Alexander Castillo, who was desperate to get cousins, nephews, and his wife and baby daughter to a relatives house in Bogota.

Dipping his hand into empty pockets, Castillo said he couldnt afford the $15 tickets.

One man clip-clopped out of town on a horse-drawn carriage piled high with possessions.

Even firefighters who had spent the week unearthing quake victims from tons of debris in Armenia packed up and shipped out in frustration. The 50 firefighters, from other Colombian cities, had been working out of a tent camp because the central fire station was destroyed in the quake.

They were threatened by thieves on Friday and decided theyd had enough, fire chief Capt. Ciro Antonio Guiza said Saturday. Only 100 firefighters remain in this city of 300,000 people.

Former President Cesar Gaviria, secretary-general of the Organization of American States, toured the quake zone  which included the ruins of his childhood home in Pereira  and committed the OAS to collecting quake relief.

Mondays quake, which measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, flattened hundreds of houses and buildings across five provinces in Colombias mountainous central coffee-growing region, leaving about 250,000 people homeless.

A survivor of Monday's earthquake tried to open the door to what is left of his home in a building in Armenia, Colombia Saturday. President Andres Pastranas government on Friday announced $315 million in quake relief, and Cabinet ministers defended their much-criticized efforts to respond to one of the worst natural disasters to hit Colombia this century.

National civil defense chief Gen. Alfonso Vacca said foreign countries had donated 10,000 tents capable of housing about 70,000 people, but the government was still looking for places to set up refugee camps. The quake left an estimated 200,000 people homeless.

The government said it had sent 362 tons of relief supplies to the earthquake zone, while the U.N. World Food Program said it was distributing 200 tons of supplies. Chile sent 30 tons of aid and Germany increased its relief package to $2 million.

Vacca said many poor people will be reluctant to abandon their neighborhoods, fearful that looters who sacked hundreds of markets and homes last week will take what is left in their quake-damaged homes.

Omar Hernandez was tying down a 12-foot-high pile of living room furniture, mattresses and other odds and ends on the back of a white pickup truck at his severely damaged apartment building.

Thieves had taken the rest, he said, pulling down a surgical mask to speak.

Undeterred by the misery befalling Armenia, Hernandez said he was only bringing the truck to a friends house in an area where the damage was less. Im not going anywhere, he said. This land is my life.

Despite the renewed looting on Saturday morning, the streets of Armenia were noticeably quieter than in recent days.

The military threw a tight cordon around the city center, restricting the flow of pedestrians, and at least 200 troops brandishing Galil automatic assault rifles were bivouacked in the main marketplace, where the previous days riots began.

Frayed nerves were rattled again on Saturday morning when a strong aftershock, measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale, shook the disaster zone.

It was one of 46 strong aftershocks since Monday and brought roofs crashing down at the hospital, police station and local government offices at its epicenter in Buenavista, about 16 miles southwest of Armenia. There were no reports of injuries.

The rumble of bulldozers and heavy earth-moving equipment could be heard throughout Armenias ruined city center on Saturday as construction crews began shoveling away tones of rubble.

Although disaster experts said victims could survive under rubble for up to 10 days, Jorge Jaramillo, chief of Armenias fire department, said the first phase of rescue operations  focusing on the search for survivors  had ended.

We are now in the second phase of operations, the recovery of corpses and removal of rubble, Jaramillo said.

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), January 31, 1999.

Truly sad.

What an argument for having "tested" contingency plans and emergency water and food supplies located in the areas of expected problems. Y2K lessons to learn!


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), January 31, 1999.

Victims Scavenge Through Rubble In Quake-Ravaged Colombia

2/7/99 -- 2:51 PM

ARMENIA, Colombia (AP) - Morning mist rises from a hill of broken concrete and twisted metal, the legacy of a deadly earthquake that erased much of this once-prosperous coffee city.

Amid the vultures on this football field-sized dump where municipal trucks haul tons of rubble each day, dozens of human figures carrying burlap bags search through the rubble for something to sell.

Most have heard tales of searchers hitting the jackpot and finding cash, jewelry or gold amid the debris from banks, stores and other businesses that collapsed in the Jan. 25 earthquake that devastated Colombia's western coffee belt and killed 1,124 people.

Others search for iron, aluminum and copper to sell to recyclers.
Many of the scavengers are former workers and shopkeepers who lost not just their homes, but their jobs and businesses - a new class of desperately poor in Armenia, a city of 300,000.

``The quake destroyed much of Armenia. Its downtown, with most of its businesses, fell to the ground. People's reality turned upside down overnight, and they started thinking of survival,'' said Luis Carlos Villegas, head of the government's reconstruction commission.

Unemployment in Quindio state stood at 15 percent before the quake and is now expected to rise to 50 percent, said Diego Villegas Restrepo, an aide to Quindio's governor.

An estimated 250,000 people were left without homes after the quake. Many have formed camps of makeshift lean-tos, while others camp out on sidewalks in front of their houses to protect their belongings from looters.

The government estimates the quake caused damages of $1 billion and has promised rebuilding loans. The international community has also pledged tens of millions of dollars. But such funds might not be available for weeks, if not months, and people must fend for themselves in the meantime.

Wearing a dirty T-shirt and a soiled Toronto Blue Jays cap, former restaurant owner Daniel Hernandez looked under slabs of concrete at the dumpsite in northern Armenia.

He lost his home and fried chicken restaurant in the quake. He lived above his restaurant with his wife and two kids and now has no source of income.

``It's not pretty, but what else can I do to support them?'' he said. He said 70 recyclers work the dump, one of six around Armenia. Scavengers also pick through the remains of thousands of collapsed buildings.

``Sometimes a load of rubble arrives, and you can smell death,'' Hernandez said.

Rescuers think some bodies still lie under the estimated 500,000 tons of rubble that cover Armenia. Hernandez fears finding a corpse.
With a black beard speckled with gray dust and rubble, 42-year-old Pedro Vargas said he dreams of finding a safe he could crack open.

Vargas owned an auto parts shop in downtown Armenia that collapsed. He searched through the rubble of his store to recover what he could of his stock, then decided to use his newly acquired skills on other rubble piles.

``I know a man who found a wallet with $200. Jewelry stores and rich businesses collapse. Some of that stuff must be in here somewhere,'' he said.

When a new truck arrives to dump its load, recyclers hustle over to be first at the debris.

``I never in my life thought I'd be doing this,'' Vargas said. ``I pray it's temporary.''
xxxxxxx xxx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), February 08, 1999.

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