Caritas in Chile one year after the earthquake
24 February 2011
One year after a devastating earthquake followed by a tsunami that hit Chile, Caritas is continuing to help thousands of victims rebuild their homes and lives. Altogether, the Caritas response reached more than 800,000 people.
Caritas volunteers distribute aid. Altogether, the Caritas response reached more than 800,000 people one year after the earthquake.
The earthquake in Chile on 27 February 2010 was the worst disaster of this type the country had experienced in half a century. More than two million people were affected.
In the first three months after the disaster, Caritas mobilized all its resources to provide emergency aid.
Caritas Internationalis launched an appeal for US$8.8 million (6.5 million euro) to cover people’s basic needs. Roughly 4000 tons of aid were delivered including food, water and beverages, tents, blankets, bedding, mattresses, hygiene items, clothing, stoves and building materials.
The local network of Caritas offices and parishes as well as many volunteers were involved in the response and made it easier to quickly get aid to the survivors.
Since June, Caritas concentrated its aid efforts on rehabilitation and reconstruction. Programmes focused on three areas: housing, family or cooperative businesses and community development. More than 20 communities located in vulnerable areas, in particular along the coast, benefit from this extensive support.
“The basic strategy of these projects is their integral character and the active participation of communities through community assessments, the implementation of housing initiatives and economic activities. The communities are in control of the implementation of the project," said Mr. Figueroa.
Giving people a sense of control over the programmes has led to better results overall and built up new resources and capacities in the communities that will remain once the programmes are finished.
“It has been very interesting to observe how communities that were despairing and paralyzed now have new leaders and organisations such as neighbourhood groups, economic committees or women support groups and how, together with the Christian communities, they are getting active to rebuild their lives,” said Mr. Figueroa.
In addition to programmes focusing on the reconstruction of shelter and economic activities, psychological and social support is provided for children and adults in all the involved communities.
RESOURCESAnnual Report 2011Emergency GuidelinesEmergency Response Tool KitEmergency Appeals 2012Emergency Appeals 2011Emergency Appeals 2010Emergencies on Caritas BlogBridging the Gap between Policy and Practice