Catastrophes have no sense of fair play. While Haiti continues to grapple with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in January 2010, Chile was rocked by a record-setting 8.8 earthquake over a month later on February 27.
The quake's center was offshore from the Maule Region. It was only about 71 miles away from Concepción, the second largest city in the country. It suffered a lot of damage, too. Buildings and homes collapsed, killing some and injuring others. As late as February 28, officials believed that 100 or more people were still trapped in the city's rubble.
Santiago, the Chilean capital, was luckier. The earthquake shook buildings and scared residents, but damage was minimal and there were very few casualties.
The quake was one of the largest ever recorded. So far, there are about 800 deaths reported, but that number is expected to rise. In addition, thousands of Chileans were injured, and about 1.5 million are now homeless.
At first, the Chilean government refused all offers of outside aid and assistance, including an offer from Paul E. Simons, the US ambassador to Chile. However, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Chile on February 28, the country expressed its willingness to accept help from other countries.
It's needed, too. Food, clean water, medical supplies, and emergency shelters are needed immediately. Critical infrastructure like brides, roads, buildings, and utilities need to be repaired or rebuilt. And with increased looting in the country, security is a major concern.
As with the disaster in Haiti, the US government is ready to help Chile in any way possible.
Want to Help?
US citizens once again are helping too. Money and critical resources and services are being donated daily. On February 28, just one day after the quake, over $41 million had been raised by text donations alone.
Your donations of money and other things are welcome and appreciated. But you need to be careful of scams. Here are some tips:
- Text a donation. It's fast, easy, and secure. You can make a $10 donation by texting the word CHILE to 20222 to donate to World Vision; 52000 to donate to the Salvation Army; or 85944 to donate to the International Medical Corp. Text the word SAVE to 20222 to donate to Save the Children Federation, Inc.
- Check with your employer to see if it has a relief fund or uses a particular charity. Your employer may even match your contribution
- Check with your local chapter of the Red Cross to make a contribution in person or online
- Check with your local Better Business Bureau about any charity you've never heard of before
- Don't give personal information, like your bank account, credit card, or social security number to anyone who asks for donations through an unsolicited telephone call
- If you think you've been contacted by or given money to a scam "charity," file a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or call the FTC's Hotline at 1-877-382-4357
Your generosity and willingness to help truly is noble. Do everything you can to make sure your money goes to help Chile recover and not into a scammers pocket.