February 28, 2010

Earthquake in Chile Update.

Update and how to help!

700+ dead with 2 million effected

The devastating aftereffects of the earthquake in Chile Saturday morning is still being felt as the toll reached 708 on Sunday and expected to rise.  Some of the worst hit areas in the Southern portion of Chile are being hit with more than just aftershocks as looters begin to become more of a problem.

President Bachelet is asked for help from abroad for much needed support for hospitals, rescue efforts, communications, engineers and water. Currently the European Union (EU), United States and several South American countries have helped.  Relief effort is slowed down dramatically due to damaged roads and ports with many places still without electricity, gas or water and only sketchy telephone service.

With the dire situation compounded by the lack of quick relief some people are resorting to looting to get the bare necessities of life.

The tsunami warnings that sent thousands of people to higher ground and evacuations across the Pacific were largely exaggerated.  Southern Chilean coastal towns saw the brunt of the floods water and rising waves.

Countries bordering the Pacific and Hawaii largely escaped with only a scare and warnings after the tsunami caused only small waves.  Japan and Russia were largely unaffected with a Japanese official admitting that they may have been over-zealous in issuing the tsunami alert with more than half a million people evacuating coastal towns predicting a ten foot tsunami wave.

How to help from Tonic

Immediately following the quake, dozens of charities geared up to send aid. The Salvation Army in Chile was distributing food, water, first aid kits, emergency packets, blankets, candles and other urgently required supplies within hours. Oxfam deployed a team of water engineers and logisticians from Colombia to help assess the country’s needs. Disaster relief charity ShelterBox said it’s mobilizing an initial response team from Britain and the United States.

Save the Children launched an emergency appeal on its website for donations to the Children’s Emergency Fund. The British Red Cross released 50,000 pounds ($76,000) from its disaster fund for Chile.

Habitat for Humanity, which says it has worked in Chile for the past 12 years, building more than 3,500 homes, made an emergency appeal to donors within hours of the quake. The organization says it has staff on the ground there with extensive training in disaster response and is ready to help those affected rebuild their homes and their lives. Those interested in helping Habitat can click here.

Doctors Without Borders, which is still very active in Haiti, is also deploying doctors to Chile. Go to www.DoctorsWithoutBorders.org to donate. Doctors Without Borders provides emergency medical care to survivors of all kinds of disasters, as described in our feature story from last month. You can also donate via phone by calling 1-888-392-0392.

Americares is also providing medical help, shelter, setting up medical clinics, and much more in Chile. To donate go to www.Americares.org.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC), which helps people traumatized by disasters and helps children continue educational opportunities after an earthquake could also use your help. To donate to the IRC go to www.TheIRC.org.

After the tragedies in Haiti and Mongolia, I would hope that samsara would take a break from rolling on to the next event but alas it doesn’t slow down for us.  All we can do is remain aware, compassionate and generous to those that are suffering.

Reports are that at least 45 aftershocks, including a 6.1-magnitude in Argentina that killed a 58-year-old man and an 8-year-old boy have occurred since the original 8.8 earthquake. Saturday’s earthquake has affected at least two million people in Chile alone leaving 214 dead and 15 missing.  With the aftereffects being felt both in Chile and surrounding areas as well as tsunami waves ranging along the Pacific, compassion and attention is desperately needed.  The updates below are from CNN.

  • 9:28 p.m. — Teams from the aid organization Doctors Without Borders were expected to arrive in Chile Saturday night to evaluate the needs of quake victims.
  • 9:05 p.m. — Chilean President Michelle Bachelet urges the people of her country to remain calm and conserve resources, including water and electricity, as the government works to restore order.
  • 1:46 p.m. HST — A tsunami warning has been lifted in Hawaii nearly two hours after the first waves came ashore, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
  • 1:40 p.m. HST — Tsunami waves reached Australia along the Tasmanian coast, according to the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Center. In Ventura County, California, navigational buoys sustained minor damage as a result of a 2-foot surge and waves, according to the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.
  • 1:30 p.m. HST — An official with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says that Hawaii has “dodged a bullet” after smaller-than-expected waves came ashore from a tsunami generated by the Chilean quake.
  • 1:20 p.m. HST — Observed heights of the first tsunami waves in Hawaii ranged from .6 feet in Barbers Point and Kaumalapu to 3.2 feet in Kahului, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Continuing Updates are available from HuffPo and CNN

Early Saturday morning a devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck Chile, setting off a tsunami which threatened a quarter of the globe. Scroll down for the latest updates. Follow the story live on our curated twitter lists here. Follow the latest tsunami updates and impacts here.. Watch Live video coverage here. Read the latest from the AP here.

President Michele Bachelet has declared a “state of catastrophe,” according to the Associated Press:

SANTIAGO, Chile – A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, collapsing buildings, killing at least 16 people and downing phone lines. President Michele Bachelet declared a “state of catastrophe” in central Chile and said the death toll was rising.Tsunami warnings were issued over a wide area, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.

“We have had a huge earthquake, with some aftershocks,” Bachelet said, appealing from an emergency response center for Chileans to remain calm. “Despite this, the system is
functioning. People should remain calm. We’re doing everything we can with all the forces we have. Any information we will share immediately.”

Bachelet said early reports were that 16 people had been killed, and “without a doubt, with an earthquake of this magnitude, there will be more deaths.”

In the 2 1/2 hours following the 90-second quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported 11 aftershocks, of which five measured 6.0 or above.

She urged people to avoid traveling in the dark, since traffic lights are down, to avoid causing more fatalities.

The quake hit 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles (35 kilometers) at 3:34 a.m. (0634 GMT; 1:34 a.m. EST), the U.S. Geological Survey reported

The epicenter was just 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river, and 60 miles from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.

In Santiago, the capital, modern buildings are built to withstand earthquakes, but many older ones were heavily damaged, including the Nuestra Senora de la Providencia church, whose bell tower collapsed. An apartment building’s two-level parking lot also flattened onto the ground floor, smashing about 50 cars whose alarms and horns rang incessantly. A bridge just outside the capital also collapsed, and at least one car flipped upside down.

In the coastal city of Vina del Mar, the earthquake struck just as people were leaving a disco, Julio Alvarez told Radio Cooperativa in Santiago. “It was very bad, people were screaming, some people were running, others appeared paralyzed. I was one of them.”

Bachelet said she was declaring a “state of catastrophe” in 3 central regions of the country, and that while emergency responders were waiting for first light to get details, it was evident that damage was extensive.

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