SANTIAGO.- The Minister of Government Affairs, Francisco Vidal, has shot back at statements made by Jaime Moraga –the attorney representing residents that refuse to abandon the town of Chaitén- after the lawyer stated that the government has never been concerned about the banks of the Rio Blanco and will be the sole entity responsible should the town disappear due the river's increasing water levels.
"I think that up until now, we have been quite convincing, but to say that the problem is to unblock the river (…) Why don't we back up a bit? Why is the river overflowing? Because the volcano is exploding, that's why!", Vidal told Radio Cooperativa.
The official asserted that 95% of the population has understood that the catastrophe would continue if Chaitén were to remain there, assuring that everyone understands that it is "very difficult" to abandon the area where they were born. "But, how can this man (Moraga) say that it is the government's responsibility?", Vidal asked while concluding with, "the government does not make volcanoes erupt!".
With regards to the alleged aid the attorney for the Chaitén residents claims American ecologist Douglas Tompkins is receiving, the minister denied such a notion and said that the government has done everything possible to support those affected by the volcano.
"I think that the ash is starting to get to this attorney. This is a responsible administration that has spent more than $30 billion pesos of Chilean taxpayer funds to help these people and is not going to go around now to help just anyone", insisted Vidal.