The fifth largest earthquake recorded since 1900, the 8.8 Chilean earthquake occurred on 2/27/10. The epicenter was just north of Concepción, the 2nd largest city of Chile. There are approximately 10 FM churches within an hour of the epicenter, another cluster of churches within 2 hours.The earthquake was followed by a Tsunami which was followed by two days of lawlessness and looting in the effected zone. Residents report that the latter two events were actually worse than the earthquake.
No FM pastors or members died.
A few casual attenders died, but no regular attenders.
No ICCM children died.
No FM churches collapsed.
The damage in and around Concepcion is significant, major buildings toppled or destroyed. Roads and bridges shifted and/or fell. Even as far away as Santiago, the new airport was significantly damaged and is mostly unusable right now. They've set up tents on the tarmac to process passengers.
The FM church in Talcahuano urgently needs repair-some of the rafters have separated from their supporting wall. A wall fell on the pastor's car and it required repair but is now usable.
The FM church in Coronel was in pretty bad shape anyway and the earthquake put it over the edge...one of its walls has been temporarily braced so it won't fall on the neighbor's house.
The FM church in Lota received some damage but probably just needs to have the firewall replaced (it separates the 2nd floor from the neighbor's).
In Talcahuano and Lota many members and 2 pastors are living in tents because their houses have been condemned.
The pastor's house (rented) in Los Angeles is condemned.
Some damage was sustained by Casa Grande (owned by Chilean FMC) in Santiago but it wasn't condemned. It needs repair to the roof and chimney, at the very least.
The Bishops' Famine & Relief Fund has sent $19,000 to Chile. The first $9,000 was used to purchase emergency food and supplies and has been well distributed among those effected.The final $10,000 is just being received. The funds have been gratefully received.
The "donor fatigue" from Haiti and the extreme loss of life in Haiti make it difficult for donors to give to Chile right now. Some churches/individuals with strong ties to Chile will want to assist.
I met with the 5 member Emergency Team of the Chilean FMC and we developed the following list of most-needed responses. If any promotion of these needs can be made I imagine that some churches/persons would like to respond.
1. 1000 back-to-school kits (notebooks, pencils, pens, colored pencils, erasers, compass, pencil sharpener, etc). The exact composition of the kits varies by school grade. Average cost per kit is $10.00. The articles are available in Chile and can be purchased, assembled into kits, and distributed by the Chilean FMC. School classes were scheduled to start in early March but have been postponed by the government until April.
2. A debriefing/emotional retreat for pastoral families. Pastors are carrying the burden of their own families' needs, plus the needs of the larger church family. They will battle fatigue and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). We can assist them by providing a 3-day retreat for pastoral families at a center near Chillán. This will be a significant source of encouragement: a chance to process and heal. The cost will be about $5,000, including bus travel for the families.
3. Rebuilding priorities:
a. Talcahuano FMC - no financial estimate yet.
b. Coronel (villa mora) FMC - no financial estimate yet
c. 6 pre-fabricated houses for those who've lost homes and have a parcel of ground. These houses are commonly used in Chile. They cost $5,200 USD and include installation and fixtures. We would call them cabins but they are often used as long-term residences.
d. Two months of rent for pastor Alex in Los Angeles so he can move into another rental property (total cost $580.USD)
Thank you for your interest and care for the Chilean people by our response.
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