A massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit central Chile on Saturday 27 February, triggering tsunami warnings across the Pacific. The official death toll has surpassed 700 people. Two million have been affected and 1.5 million houses have been damaged. Almost 300,000 people are living in camps or outdoors. The earthquake has been followed by over 100 aftershocks.
Extensive damage to basic services, buildings, bridges, airports, hospitals, and other infrastructure has left much of the country with irregular electricity, water or telecommunications, especially in the south.
In coastal cities, a tsunami sent many people into the hills and away from their homes and communities. Aftershocks continue to threaten structures and fray nerves, and basic supplies are low.
Chile is prone to large earthquakes. After the 7.7 quake in northern Chile in November 2007, World Vision was one of the first responders in the area and set up a Child Friendly Space— a safe and secure place for children to recover —to serve the needs of the quake's youngest survivors.
Download the Chile country profile.
World Vision’s response
World Vision's relief activities have reached over 950 families to date with food, water or shelter. As part of the relief effort, World Vision has provided:
- 1,000kgs of flour, sugar, rice, spaghetti and tuna, and 2,500 litres of oil to affected families in San Carlos and San Ignacip
- 2,500 litres of water and 1,000 blankets to families in Dichato
- More than 400 tents to families in Lota and Dichato regions
A Child Friendly Space has been set up in Dichato providing a safe place for children following the collapse of a school and kindergartens in the area. Child protection staff have been deployed to the area to monitor the wellbeing of children.
World Vision plans to set up 8 more Child Friendly Spaces in affected areas in the coming days.
World Vision has been working in Chile for 30 years and runs 16 long-term development programs, supporting more than 100,000 people within the country's poorest, most marginalised communities.
Children sponsored by Australians
World Vision has 5 Australian-funded Area Development Programs (ADPs) in the earthquake zone. Communication remains extremely difficult as major roads and infrastructure have been severely damaged.
Huamachuco, Nuevo Cenreco and Penalolen ADPs: World Vision staff have confirmed that all children in have been accounted for. World Vision has begun distributing medicines, food, blankets and torches in these areas and has commenced child protection activities.
Coronel and Kelluwain ADPs: Accessing information from has been difficult due to the lack of communication and damaged roads. The major highway was destroyed in some sections and bridges collapsed, meaning no access by land is possible at this stage. Most communication lines are still down.
World Vision is conducting assessments and is working to account for all children in these areas. As we continue to monitor the safety and wellbeing of all sponsored children, please be assured that if we receive information of concern regarding any children we will contact sponsors immediately.
How you can help
Support for the Emergency & Preparedness Fund enables World Vision to prepare for emergencies by pre-stocking and positioning life-saving supplies and ensuring trained staff are available to be on the scene quickly, to respond to emergencies.
Find out more about our Emergency & Preparedness Fund or donate now.