Chile shakes under an 8.8

Immediate Salvation Army response to devastating earthquake

Salvation Army officers from Quinta Normal Corps and Maipu Corps and a civil engineer and soldier of Santiago Central Corps inspect Salvation Army properties that have been damaged. [Photo courtesy of Internation Headquarters]

Salvation Army emergency units mobilized immediately in Chile following the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on Saturday morning, February 27, 2010, affecting around two million people.

Chief Secretary of the South America West Territory, Lt. Colonel F. Bradford Bailey said that the immediate Salvation Army response included providing food, water, first aid kits, emergency packets, blankets, candles and other urgently required supplies.

The quake’s epicenter was approximately 90 miles northwest of Concepción—about 350 miles from the capital of Santiago; “nevertheless, the quake was of a 7.0 magnitude in the Santiago metropolitan region,” said Bailey. South America West Territory Secretary for Business Administration Lt. Colonel Maria Alarcon said, “I have never seen such destruction here before, though I have worked in many disaster situations—they don’t compare with this.” She added that the immediate need is still food, water and medicine.

Alarcon reported: “Our officers are all fine, but a lot of Salvation Army properties are damaged, especially the older ones made of adobe bricks. The worst damage in Santiago has occurred at Quinta Normal and Lo Vial corps, and El Faro Men’s Residence.” She added that tents to house 60 displaced families were set up on the patio of the Hualpencillo Corps near Concepción, and that officers from Puerto Montt and Osorno, in southern Chile, traveled to Concepción to join The Salvation Army emergency response team.

Bailey noted that it was difficult to communicate with Army centers throughout Chile since all phone lines (mobile and land) were down; Skype did provide an alternative way for people in other countries to reach family and friends in Chile.

Lt. Colonel Mike Caffull, international emergency services coordinator, stated that IHQ has agreed to provide financial assistance for the Chilean Salvationists relief response and that this help will be ongoing in the medium and long term.

Donors can visit or to make a donation, or text the word “chile” to 52000 to make a one-time $10 donation billed to their phone account.

From Salvation Army news releases

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