Tuesday 2 March 2010
World Vision has begun distributing water containers and hundreds of blankets to survivors of an 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile over the weekend, as the organisation prepares to commence an extensive response in the hardest hit areas south of Santiago.
Many of the communities where World Vision already works, including Lota City, Temuco, Concepcion and other areas in the Bio Bio and La Araucania regions, were close to the devastating quake's epicentre.
Late Sunday, World Vision flew a team of relief and logistics experts to Concepcion to assess the damage and to verify the safety of community members cut off from communications or road access.
World Vision has pre-positioned relief supplies in its Santiago warehouse, and plans to purchase additional high-priority supplies in-country including water tanks, water purification tablets, cooking items, hygiene kits, blankets and lanterns. These items will be rushed to communities in the Concepcion area as soon as air transport can be arranged. Meanwhile, the agency is working to bring in additional supplies from its regional warehouses.
In the 5 communities where World Vision is responding, aid workers reported that many houses had collapsed completely. Many left standing were too damaged for people to safely inhabit. There was no water or electricity service Sunday and hundreds of families were still sleeping on the streets. The start of the new school term has been postponed because of expected structural damage to school buildings.
"We are extremely concerned about the emotional impact of so many aftershocks on children. Not only the physical needs, but the psychosocial needs of children in the quake zone will be a priority once the full extent of the needs are known and we can begin delivering much-needed supplies," said Tatiana Benavides, World Vision's national director in Chile.
World Vision has worked in Chile for 30 years and has more than 100 staff in the country, reaching about 100,000 children and adults with education, economic development, job training, and sustainable development programs.