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Chile miners got toothbrushes. Now to address their greater needs.

Chile miners trapped since Aug. 5 finally got the food and toothbrushes they requested. The next challenge is to help them cope with the possibility of living underground for four months.

Drills are seen outside the San Jose collapsed mine where 33 miners are trapped in Copiapo, Chile, Tuesday. The miners got the food and toothbrushes they requested in their first phone contact with the surface.

Roberto Candia/AP

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A team of 33 copper miners trapped a half-mile under Chile's Atacama Desert on Tuesday got the food and toothbrushes they requested in their first phone contact with the surface.

Relief crews are now using a pair of fist-sized boreholes to provide the Chilean miners with food and medicine, a relief after more than two weeks when they survived on a spoonful of tuna fish and a couple of crackers every 48 hours.

The miners were trapped Aug. 5 when the collapse of a 700,000-ton rock blocked the long, winding vehicle ramp they normally took to return home after 10-hour shifts more than 2,000 feet underground. Rescuers gave up on extracting them through a ventilation shaft when it, too, caved in. The country celebrated Sunday after drillers from the surface broke through to a reinforced refuge area and found all 33 alive.

IN PICTURES: Chilean mine collapse

Helping the workers settle into their new life, however, will be a bigger challenge.

"The aid starts with the most basic needs: food, shelter, and a sense of security. Now they need help organizing their time," says Humberto Marin, a psychologist with the trauma, stress, and disasters unit at Catholic University in Santiago. "They have to have a daily routine, to stick together and to help work on the rescue."

Mental preparation for the ordeal


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