Earthquake in Chile

By |3 April 2014|

Caritas in Chile has set up an emergency committee. It is in contact with dioceses to assess the damage and needs.

Chile rises from the rubble

By |31 March 2013|

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.

Chile overcomes massive quake and tsunami

By |7 July 2011|

It was the worst disaster Chile had suffered in half a century, not only a strong earthquake but a tsunami too. Two million people were affected. Caritas’s emergency response began immediately: its strong local networks helping it reach the most vulnerable people in the most remote areas, often more rapidly than the government could.

Chile one year after the earthquake

By |24 February 2011|

Caritas Internationalis has been supporting earthquake victims from the first day of the disaster with emergency aid and long term rehabilitation projects. Altogether, the Caritas response reached more than 800,000 people.

New homes for quake survivors in Chile

By |24 February 2011|

Just last week, another 20 families in Curanilahue in Chile could move into their new houses. Providing people who have lost their homes with decent shelter has been a major focus of Caritas’ rehabilitation programmes after the 27 February earthquake. So far, Caritas completed 235 new homes for earthquake victims and repaired or improved 594 homes. "Receiving the keys to our own house is a great joy for us, even greater when you consider that this help has come from so far away. We finally have a decent home! We were waiting for it eagerly after what had happened to us. I thank the team of Caritas and all who helped and are helping us,” said Juana Carrillo, one of the beneficiaries from Curanilahue. In addition to the reconstruction work on houses, Caritas has fitted out 54 toilets in rural areas and delivered 432 household item kits to families who lost all or [...]

Caritas in Chile one year after the earthquake

By |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 helps Chile rebuild

By |24 February 2011|

By Lorenzo Figueroa, Secretary General of Caritas Chile  One year on from the earthquake and tsunami the poor are in a more precarious state. Indeed, an official government study reports that today Chile has 500 thousand more poor people as a result of the disaster. Road infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, has been rebuilt. But thousands of Chileans are still living in very poor-quality temporary accommodation, called mediaguas (shacks), in "villages" or camps that are not equipped with adequate services. The process of allocating grants for housing and the building of new homes has been slow, as people have to wait two or three years for more permanent solutions. Rehabilitation of some key services, such as healthcare, is also progressing slowly. For example, people in the Maule region are still being treated in temporary hospitals. The victims have had to deal with being forgotten by society and the authorities, as 2010 was marked [...]

Six months after Chile quake

By |27 August 2010|

Chile is getting back on its feet six months after the 27 February earthquake left millions without homes and in need of aid. Caritas responded immediately, providing food, shelter, warm clothing and compassion, reaching over a million people. Now Caritas is switching to reconstruction and rehabilitation. But Lorenzo Figueroa, Secretary General of Caritas Chile, says there is an urgent need for a national plan from the government as winter approaches. Interview with Lorenzo Figueroa, Secretary General of Caritas Chile What have been the greatest challenges?  The earthquake affected a massive area, from Valparaíso to Araucania, in which almost 13 million people live. Over two million people were directly affected. It was difficult to assess the impact and identify the victims. Coupled with this, information wasn’t coming through from the government. Caritas initially responded by providing people with water, food, clothes, shelter, hygiene goods, but also spiritual support. We’ve reached 210,000 of the most vulnerable [...]

Chile quake catastrophe

By |31 March 2010|

A massive earthquake in Chile has left two million people in need of support in some of the poorest parts of the country. The quake struck on Saturday 27 February 115km (70 miles) north-east of Concepcion and 325km south-west of Santiago. At least two million people have been affected and 1.5 million homes have been destroyed in one of the biggest quake’s on record. Caritas is distributing aid through its national Caritas Chile office in 23 different areas providing initially food. Caritas Chile Director Lorenzo Figueroa said, “We are collecting food to be sent immediately to communities which have been most affected by the earthquake and where shortages are already being reported.” A Caritas Internationalis team composed of staff from the headquarters in the Vatican and from the region are supporting relief efforts on the ground. Caritas is also working with a search and rescue team from Mexico to help find survivors under the rubble.

Gimme shelter

By |31 March 2010|

Phenol Estiverne’s home wasn’t reduced to rubble, like many others hit by Haiti’s earthquake, but he still hasn’t returned to live in it. “It’s too dangerous. During the last aftershock, the cracks in the walls got even deeper. Next time, we will all be buried under the rubble!” says Mr Estiverne. Mr Estiverne, 54, now lives with his wife and four children in the garden of his small brick house on the hills of Martissant, in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince. Poor building practices in Haiti’s towns and capital city hugely contributed to the destruction and massive loss of life in the 12th January earthquake. Frequent aftershocks, some of which are very strong mean that buildings that were already fragile to begin with are at risk of collapsing. Caritas has distributed emergency shelter kits to over 60,000 people since the earthquake happened. Mr Estiverne recently received a family-sized tent which he has pitched in his [...]

Chile for Chile: a country stands in solidarity

By |31 March 2010|

Victor Chandia is standing in front of what is left of his little yellow house. All the windows are smashed, the door is gone, part of the roof was taken off. Inside nothing is as it used to be. The once white walls are now brown and muddy, just like the floor and the stairs. “The water came up to here,” says Victor, pointing to a black line, four metres up the wall. “I found two large fish in what used to be my bedroom, but I have lost everything I had,” he says, his eyes watering. The 8.8 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, 27 February 2010 did not do much damage to the little village of Dichato, close to Concepción. It's a favourite of tourists during the summer season. It was the tsunami, or rather the tsunamis, that came after the quake and destroyed everything. Five waves struck Dichato within a [...]

Putting a roof over the heads of Chile’s quake survivors

By |31 March 2010|

By Andreas Lexer, Caritas Communications Officer in Chile Iloca used to be a beautiful little village everybody went to in the summer, about 100 km away from the city of Talca. The blue, red and yellow coloured houses built on poles were close to the shore, the river ran in to the sea just in front of the village and a sand dune kept the Pacific Ocean well away. On Saturday, February 27th, everything changed. After the 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Chile at 3.34 in the morning people were wide awake. “We immediately knew we had to leave”, says Mavet Rivera, who ran a little fish store close to the Beach. So she took her three sons, jumped into the next car and went up the hill. Then the sea rolled in. Three waves washed away Iloca. “The radio was telling us that there would not be a Tsunami, when we actually saw it,” [...]

Chile’s worst hit region gets aid

By |30 March 2010|

By Andreas Lexer, Caritas Communications Officer in Chile “This region is the poorest one in the country“, says Jorge Brito, Executive Director of Caritas Maule. “And it is also the most affected one!” More than 400 people died here, more than in any other region in Chile. Some one million people live in Maule, more than 20 percent are regarded poor, compared to the 15 percent average in the rest of the country. This is the reason why so many houses here were build with cheap Adobe instead of wood or bricks. Most of the Adobe houses could not stand the 8.8 magnitude earthquake on February 27th and the majority of these buildings collapsed. Many of them made up the historic city centre of Talca, the regions capital, and others were in smaller villages on the countryside and in the mountains. “We estimate that about 20.000 houses are down in the region, but [...]

Caritas aid in Chile getting to the people who need is most

By |9 March 2010|

Ruben Sebulbeda hugs his little 18 month granddaughter Anina to his chest. Just like he did a week ago. When the earthquake struck Chile on Saturday, February 28th, in the dead of night, he woke up. Everything in his little house in the village of Santa Clara had fallen on the floor. Ruben Sebulbda and his wife had just started to clean up, when they heard their neighbours running by and shouting: “The sea is coming!” By the time Mr Sebulbeda rushed out of his door, Anina in his arms, the wave, one and a half metres high, was already upon his house. His wife was carried away by the flood, but he managed to grab her trailing hair and pulled her towards dry land. The sea took everything, not much is left of the little village. Most of the wood houses were torn apart by the tsunami and dragged along [...]

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