Strong Arms Around Chile
One month following the destructive magnitude 8.8 earthquake and tsunami that struck Chile, The Salvation Army continues distributing help throughout the country. More than 15,000 people have been assisted and 14,000 rations of food provided to individuals and families. Some 350 volunteers have given their help.
A campaign called ‘Strong Arms Around Chile’ has been set up to help collect donations and goods that can be delivered to the neediest Chileans.
In the area around the capital, Santiago, coffee, hot meals and other services continue to be offered.
The south of the country, particularly coastal regions, was most affected by the disaster and this area is where The Salvation Army is focusing its efforts.
Four hundred baskets with basic necessities have been given out in Caleta Tumbes, which was affected by both the quake and tsunami. Salvation Army workers are helping to clear debris in this area. The Salvation Army is also distributing family baskets with basic necessities such as food, water, hygiene products, and clothes to families who are sleeping outdoors since they no longer have homes.
In Concepción, around the epicentre of the earthquake, family baskets were distributed at a camp in the centre of the city.
In nearby Hualpén, a well on the grounds of Hualpencillo Corps (church) is providing water to the neighbourhood.
The Salvation Army’s Central Division in Chile sent 20 tons of food, clothing and water to the cities of Concepción and Hualpén, including some goods purchased with funds received from overseas.
The supplies were organized in a reception centre at Concepción Corps. The corps officers went to the affected zones to see where the aid was most needed and the community of Dichato was identified. Unfortunately, because of contamination, the military was not allowing people into the community.
Eventually a Salvation Army team was allowed to visit the New Dawn camp in Dichato, which is made up of 180 families – approximately 850 people. The team also visited Villa los Sauces, which has a number of temporary settlements, and the area of Coliumo, where many people are living in small makeshift camps along the side of the road.
In each of these places goods were given out, including food, water and some tents. Three volunteers, rotating every few days, are living in a tent in the New Dawn camp and there are plans to set up a community kitchen. Salvationists and volunteers have helped clear debris and have lifted people’s spirits with times of worship.
In an emergency services coordination meeting, it was decided that Concepción Corps would take responsibility for people in Dichato, Coliumo, Lota, Coronel and Hualqui. The corps at Hualpén will visit and document the communities of Las Salinas, Lenga, Talcahuano and Caleta Tumbes. Some of these areas are dealing with devastation from both the earthquake and the tsunami.
Major Raelton Gibbs (International Emergency Services) is now in Chile to assist and advise the local Salvation Army teams.
The Salvation Army has been shown great appreciation by those receiving help. Many are simply happy still to be alive. The Chilean Salvation Army continues to work and aid those in need by providing not only material necessities but also spiritual comfort.
To help support The Salvation Army’s ongoing relief efforts in Chile, visit our online donations page.