Situation in Chile “far worse than imagined”

From Pastor Harrison’s Mercy Journeys blog.

“This event in Chile is far worse than ever imagined,” said Rev. Glenn Merritt, director of Disaster Response with LCMS World Relief and Human Care, who arrived in Chile March 19 with WR-HC’s Rev. Carlos Hernandez to assess earthquake damages with the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile (IELCHI).

The death toll has reached 800 in Chile since the Feb. 27 earthquake and tsunami, and an estimated 500,000 homes were destroyed. Earlier this month, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet reported that rebuilding could take up to three years and cost as much as $30 billion.

In the coastal town of Constitución, near the epicenter, four tsunami waves, one reaching 30-feet, washed away the first 6-8 blocks of beachfront property. Merritt said military divers searched Monday for more than 300 people still missing – many who were attending a party on an island peninsula as the waves hit.

Upwards of 2,500 displaced Chileans are living in six-by-eight-foot wooden structures at one government-run refugee camp in the coastal city. In the weeks following the earthquake, IELCHI pastors have gone door-to-door in these camps, assessing how people are doing and identifying what aid is needed.

“There is no water, no sanitation, no power, and not adequate food,” said Merritt of one emergency camp in Constitución. LCMS World Relief and Human Care, in partnership with the IELCHI, will explore beginning a feeding program at the camp and providing limited electrical services to each structure. Refugee families who do not qualify for government assistance are filling out grant applications with the IELCHI. The church will provide grants as it is able.

Go read the rest and see how you can help.

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Earthquake jolts Alaska

Municipality of Anchorage
Image via Wikipedia

Damage minimal but scares residents.

A strong earthquake in Alaska‘s most populous region has scared a lot of people but caused almost no damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 5.4 magnitude temblor struck about 24 miles from the town of Willow. The rumbling lasted several minutes in Anchorage, about 58 miles away.

The shaking sent residents and office workers diving under desks and huddling in doorways and was felt as far south as Kenai and north to Fairbanks, a span of 300 miles.

Janet Herr, an employee of the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center says the quake was 26 miles deep, a reason for both the minimal damage and the vast area over which it was felt.

Anchorage has about 285,000 residents, most of the vast state’s population.

Alaska is seismically active, and has frequent earthquakes although most can’t be felt.

Which is why it’s rare to hear about them.

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