In the wake of the devastating earthquake that has wreaked havoc on Haiti, news has come of one of history's largest earthquakes, one measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale, has hit off the coast of Chile, about 200 miles southwest of the capital of Santiago, and 70 miles north of the second largest city, Concepcion, which is in the zone that has experienced the highest amounts of shaking due to the quake. (see the map from the New York Times to the left).
The damage is great, as one might expect, but added to the earthquake damage in Chile, there is the possibility of a dangerous tsunami hitting through out the Pacific Region, including Hawaii. Despite the magnitude of the quake, the effects on Chile likely will be less than in Haiti, for the people of Chile are used to large quakes and have prepared for them -- much as in Southern California. Still, as I know from living in Southern California, and having experienced much smaller quakes, the devastation will still be great.
Church World Service offers this update on ways of helping, knowing that at this point it's still too early to know what will be needed.
CWS emergency staff have been in contact with our colleagues on the ground in Chile, who report their people are safe. CWS has worked in Chile to provide emergency preparedness training and assistance to the country's sizable population of Colombians, displaced to Chile by conflict. CWS works with two Chilean agencies, FASIC (Fundacion de Ayuda Social de las Iglesia Cristianas) and IMECH, the Methodist Church of Chile.
As part of the international ACT Alliance network, CWS will work to provide emergency assistance such as food, water and shelter to those affected by this disaster. CWS staff continue to be in contact with people in Chile and colleagues in other ACT Alliance agencies to ensure a timely and responsible response. CWS staff are also preparing for a tsunami response in Hawaii should any be needed. Please donate now to help meet emergency needs in Chile and from related tsunamis.
The Disciples of Christ relief arm, Week of Compassion (for whom we are taking our general outreach offering this week), notes that guidance will be provided soon. Funds can, of course, be given through them.
In addition, may we keep the people of that region in our prayers.