Chile: after the earthquake

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Salvation Army teams work with community, provide ongoing relief.

Salvation Army workers distribute aid in Chile.

Salvation Army emergency teams are providing ongoing support to people in Tocopilla, northern Chile, who lost their homes in the recent devastating earthquake. Tocopilla, situated in the Atacama Desert—the most arid desert in the world—is the city most affected by the earthquake, which measured 7.7 on the Richter scale and left 15,000 people without homes or basic necessities.

Thousands of people saw years of sacrifice to build their homes and provide for their families brought to nothing in the 50 seconds that the main quake lasted. Many are now living in improvised tents in front of what remains of their homes, desperate to hold on to something of life before the disaster. Families have begun clearing rubble from their land, often simply leaving it in the streets of Tocopilla, which has been declared a disaster zone by the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet.

The Salvation Army continues working with the people, distributing approximately 300 prepared meals and water daily. Teams are working in and with the community, and have organized community members to help in the preparation and distribution of food.

Lt. Colonel Susan McMillan, chief secretary of the South America West Territory, stated: “A roster of the most-affected families has been prepared, and bags of non-perishable food, blankets and tents have been distributed to them.” The Salvation Army has also been providing basic medical care.

Salvation Army officers from central Chile have traveled to the region to provide some relief to the officers in the north. The Army is working closely with the community to replace housing for those families who have lost everything.

Donations in support of The Salvation Army’s Latin America Disaster Fund can be made online at

From a report by International Emergency Services

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