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Chile Earthquake: Follow-up 17 March 2010

Two weeks after the earthquake, staff from the SOS Children’s Villages Arica and the Social Centre of Antofagasta in the north of the country, and from the SOS Children’s Village Padre Las Casas, in the south, close to the area most affected by the earthquake and the tsunami, started to join the emergency relief efforts.

Woman receiving help Chile earthquake Among the most important actions that this team will have to carry out will be to continue to provide emotional support to the children cared for within the emergency programme as well as to the children in the SOS Children’s Villages in Concepción and Chaimavida; SOS mothers and some women from the communities are also provided with psychosocial help. This component of the emergency relief plan has shown to be essential given that the people are suffering from emotional problems, which have increased because of recurring aftershocks (over 100 since 27 February) measuring over 6 on the Richter Scale.

Apart from providing day-care to over 700 children, the SOS teams are also organising help for our community centres in the coastal areas and in towns outside Concepción. Some have still not received any form of help and the roads leading into these areas are blocked. SOS Children's Villages Chile is evaluating how to organise the shipment of food supplies, tents, blankets, etc. to the affected communities.  The administrative offices located in the centre of Concepción were evacuated because there was a danger that the building next door might collapse.

On 17 March, a meeting between Victor Beltrán, director of SOS Children's Villages Chile, and the General Manager of the Bosch group for Chile, Dr. Uwe Kirschner, was held. Bosch has officially donated USD 100,000 for the rebuilding of the destroyed houses of the SOS Children’s Village in Bulnes (total costs of the reconstruction amounts USD 220,000). On 23 March, a ceremony will be held at the SOS Children’s Village in Los Aromos to receive the donation from the Latin American Regional President of Bosch. Meanwhile, the national office of SOS Children's Villages in Chile in Santiago is still strengthening efforts to get donations from locals and businesses to fund the emergency relief programme and the rebuilding of all the damaged buildings.

It should be mentioned that this tragedy happened just as Chile was passing on to a new presidency. This always leads to a phase of staff change in public institutions and offices, which generates a certain lack of coordination, which we hope will be solved this week.