WITHIN hours of a devastating earthquake hitting northern Chile, teams of Salvation Army officers and volunteers were on the scene, giving aid and comfort to the families who had been made homeless. While the immediate loss of human life was relatively light, life in the villages of this mountainous region has been severely disrupted by massive landslides, power outages, burst water mains and the destruction of many homes. The earthquake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter scale, also displaced large boulders which flattened buildings and made many roads impassable.
At a government meeting to coordinate relief efforts, The Salvation Army was given the responsibility of bringing relief supplies, including hot food, to the community of Huara, approximately 75 kilometres north of Iquique. Fifteen Salvation Army volunteers arrived in Huara on Tuesday 14 June.
Some of the team members worked at preparing the food while others took to the streets to deliver the rations to the families who needed it. Many people, fearing looters, refused to leave the rubble of their destroyed homes. Continuing aftershocks are further traumatising families who have already lost their homes and any sense of security.
Major Roberto Moya, District Officer for Northern Chile, says there is an urgent need to rebuild homes for the estimated 200 families who have been affected in Huara. Donations are sought to help The Salvation Army continue to provide healing and hope to the community of Huara. These should be directed to the Latin America Disaster Fund at International Headquarters.
Report by International Emergency