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The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Chile on 27 February was one of the largest ever recorded. The epicentre was near Chile’s second largest city, Concepción, but tremors were in neighbouring countries such as Argentina and Peru and tsunami warnings were issued in dozens of countries.

Over 500 people have been confirmed dead and over two million have been affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Two hundred thousand houses have been severely damaged or completely destroyed. Infrastructure and hospitals were also damaged meaning that Chile has needed the help of the international community in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Caritas Chile immediately responded to the earthquake by distributing food and water and by providing tents. Its work has focused on Santiago and dioceses and parishes in the provinces of Concepción, Talca, Temuco and Rancagua.

Two weeks after the earthquake, Caritas had helped over 520,000 people with items such as food, water, tents and medicines. Caritas is also making assessments to build houses that will last and has produced housing kits to build temporary homes.