Bulnes is a small city of 20,000 people, in the Nuble Province of southern Chile. It suffered a massive earthquake in 2010 and the damaging effects are still felt by hundreds of families.
The epicentre of the earthquake was only 34km off the coast of the Nuble Province and, between the tectonic shift and the ensuing tsunami, the area was wreaked by havoc, and entire regions were left absolutely devastated.
A usually calm region shocked by disaster
Bulnes is characterised by its warm summers and cold winters . However, in 2010 an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the monument magnitude scale struck Chile and caused severe damage to the city and region.
Some towns were completely abandoned as citizens, fearful of another tsunami, fled to the hills. Almost a tenth of the Chilean population lost their homes and nearly a fifth of the people living in the Nuble Province were left homeless. The earthquake also had a lasting effect on the region's infrastructure, not all of which has been repaired. The harm done to the economy, with countless shops destroyed and companies ruined, left countless people unemployed and many others homeless.
Families still recovering from earthquake
Hundreds of farmers lost everything in the earthquake. Livestock were killed, agricultural goods were spoiled and many hectares of forest were destroyed. The regional government developed an emergency fund to help those affected by the earthquake but hundreds of families stay in painful situations.
It can sometimes seem like the only option available to them is to leave for another city. However, the demand for jobs means that achieving a steady flow of income in a new region is often an impossible dream.
What we do in Bulnes
SOS Children's Villages started working in Bulnes in 1969. When the earthquake hit, we distributed emergency relief and supplies. This included food, clothing, hygiene products and emotional support to almost three hundred families. Today, these emergency programmes have turned into sustainable relief programmes, run by members of the community.
We offer support to families who are rebuilding their livelihoods. SOS Children's Villages' social centres in the area offer programmes that keep in mind the region's culture and tradition. A day-care watches over children so parents can work during the day. A dentist, paediatrician and pharmacy supply basic but essential healthcare to people in the region.
When children are abandoned or have been left orphaned, they can find a new family home at our Children's Village. Here they belong to an SOS family, where they grow up in a loving home with SOS brothers and sisters, and are watched over by an affectionate SOS Mother. The children in SOS families attend local schools and remain close to the community.
Children in Bulnes who have no-one and nothing are offered a new life in our Children's Village. With the love and support of their SOS family they enjoy a happy childhood and look forward to a bright future. Will you sponsor a child in Chile today?