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Chile quake: Locals with guns stand guard in Concepcion

Locals in Concepcion hunker down with guns and hand-held radios, while mobs run free and the military tries to gain traction.

Basic services are still absent in almost the entire city.

Many residents ride the streets on bicycles as they can not re-fuel their automobiles. Water service has been restored to only a few homes in the city center. Buses are arriving carrying worried family members. And Tuesday newspapers arrived for the first time since the earthquake hit, informing the isolated city that hadn't had access to the outside world since early Saturday morning.

“Have you heard what has happened to the town of Constitution? How is Santiago faring after the earthquake?” asks Alex Canete, a social worker, who said he was going to help the regional government deliver food staples such sugar, flour, rice, salt, milk and water to residents street by street.

In one stunning story, as soon as Cristina Perez, 57, opened the front door of her century-old home on 729 Colo Colo St. in the center of Concepcion immediately after the earthquake struck, the entire brick and mortar facade pancaked to the ground in front of her creating a mountain of rubble.

The entire contents of the home and the stores she rents out on her first floor are laid bare to everyone. An angry Perez yells at onlookers to ¨go away¨ as she seeks to recover her belongings. Perez was born there, and the home has been in their family for more than 100 years.

The Sanhuez family saw the spine of the four-story apartment building just one block from the Bio Bio River wilt under the power of the 8.8-magnitude quake. With continuing aftershocks rocking the city, threats of a tsunami, a crime wave and no lights or water, they have huddled their brothers, wives and children and relocated to a roadside lot about 15 minutes outside Concepcion.

In a few more days their food will run out, but what they fear even more than hunger is going back.