Monday, March 1, 2010

Chile Earthquake Update: Chile Asks For Help

The New York Times, via AP reports that Chile has made a formal request to the United Nations for help in recovery from the earthquake that struck the country Sunday morning. Per the Times: Chile's government is ''well-organized to respond'' to the crisis but has appealed to the U.N. and governments in the region and elsewhere for specific emergency needs, including temporary bridges, field hospitals, satellite phones, electric generators, damage assessment teams, water purification systems, field kitchens and dialysis centers, [UN Executive Secretary Alicia] Barcena said. According to the Times/AP, Chile has not yet requested large amounts of international help or fund raising.

Looting is occurring in the country, particularly in Concepcion, which was harder hit than the capitol city of Santiago. Many people were taking staple items, but then it grew out of hand and electronics and other goods were targeted. The Chilean government sent 10,000 troops and set a curfew. In addition, per the New York Times again, this eminently sensible arrangement was made: Law enforcement authorities eventually worked out a system to allowed staples to be taken, and [Chilean President] Ms. Bachelet later announced that the government had reached a deal with supermarket chains to give away food to needy residents.

Looters force their way into a supermarket via the truck delivery door.

Transportation has proven to be a problem. Rescue teams are having trouble getting into some of the more damaged regions near and south of the epicenter. Aid is also being hindered by the damage. Picture in your mind's eye a major north-south interstate with its bridges and underpasses destroyed. That trip from New York to Miami (I-95), Minneapolis to Oklahoma City (I-35) or Seattle to Los Angeles (I-5) isn't so simple with bridges and overpasses missing, now is it?

A stranded bus illustrates the problem of the destruction of transportation infrastructure.

Photos from the gallery of the Kansas City Star

While it may not grab as many headlines as the Haitian quake, I am sure that the people of Chile will appreciate everyone's prayers, and if the need arises, their help.


Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
You are right to bring this into your blog. Stuff just keeps on happening, and I'm afraid Chile won't get the help Haiti has, because Haiti is so complicated.

I'm going to study this more, thanks for the posts! You've done the good!

Ann T.

the observer said...

Ann T

Thank you for reading!

I think Chile bears watching, for humanitarian reasons, and also for the lessons we might learn for our earthquake prone areas.

The Observer