SANTIAGO DE CHILE, Chile–(ENEWSPF)–March 15, 2010. The international humanitarian organization CARE continues to assist in the relief efforts in Chile that killed 507 people in the massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck on February 27, 2010. The quake was followed by a 2.3-meter tsunami that crashed into Chile’s coast, causing further devastation. Strong aftershocks continue more than two weeks after the initial quake.
While CARE does not have a permanent presence in Chile, we are supporting the emergency relief activities of a local partner on the ground Fundacion Alemana para el Desarrollo, and we have distributed food, hygiene items, tents and tarps to more than 200 families to date.
“In the village of Sauzal, near the city of Cauquenes, there are still cries for help,” says Axel Rottländer, CARE’s deputy emergency coordinator. CARE received support from local youth for the distribution. Rottländer says, “The girls handed out the items, the guys did the cleaning up. All of them were highly motivated, are hands on and eager to reconstruct their village.”
CARE staff delivered the items to older people in person, and plans to provide people living in retirement homes with relief items. Manuel Salazar, 85, is one of the affected villagers. He spent his whole life working day jobs. Now, the earthquake has completely destroyed his house and he lives under a tarp in his backyard.
“It’s especially tough for the old, weak and sick people who are now homeless and have no savings. Many of them, like Manuel, have worked very hard all their life and now have nothing left. We have to help them,” says Rottländer.
The rainy season in this region starts in April. “The tarps are an important first protection measure. But we have to think about reconstruction and give those people hope for the future,” Rottländer explains.