Following a devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile during the early hours of Saturday morning (27 February) Salvation Army emergency services were immediately mobilized to provide support and comfort.
Chief Secretary for The Salvation Army in South America West, Lieut-Colonel F. Bradford Bailey says that the immediate response is to provide food, water, first aid kits, emergency packets, blankets, candles and other urgently required supplies. A recently arrived mobile canteen (a donation from the USA Southern Territory) is one of the key relief vehicles .
The earthquake epicenter was approximately 90 miles (150 kilometres) north west of the city of Concepción in Southern Chile. Lieut-Colonel Bailey says that this is approximately 350 miles (600 kilometres) from the capital of Santiago, ‘nevertheless, the quake was of a 7.0 magnitude in the Santiago metropolitan region’. He adds that people have flocked to the streets ‘as numerous aftershocks continue to pummel’ the country, severely affecting older buildings in the more historical areas of the larger cities.
Water, gas and electricity has been cut off in affected areas and will stay disconnected until relevant emergency crews can assess the damage and prioritize immediate needs.
The colonel says that in these early hours after the quake it has been extremely difficult to communicate with Salvation Army centres throughout the country as all phone lines (mobile and land) have been disrupted.
‘However, preliminary reports are reassuring in terms of Salvation Army personnel.’
Donations in support of the relief effort in Chile can be made by visiting www.SalvationArmy.ca, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or at you nearest Salvation Army facility. Please specify that your donation is for the Chile Earthquake Relief Fund.