The most severe effects of the massive earthquake in 2010 were felt in the south Chilean city of Concepción. Whilst reconstruction has been steady, many areas remain damaged and many families are still living in uncertain situations.
Located in Chile's southern Biobio region, Concepción, with its population of 370,000 people, is the second most populated city in the nation. Its economy has always been, and still is, rooted in its strong manufacturing industry.
Effects of the 2010 earthquake
In 2010 an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the magnitude monument scale struck Chile. Its epicentre was only 34km off the coast and between the shift of the terrain and the massive tsunami which followed, the damage affects the South American country to this day.
An estimated tenth of the total population lost their homes from the disaster and ensuing tsunami, and nearly a fifth of the Biobio region were left homeless. Concepción, only 60km away from the epicentre, was moved three metres to the west by the earthquake.
Lawlessness ran rampant through the city in the aftermath of the earthquake, even with the heavy military presence which was meant to rein in such chaos. SOS Children's Villages distributed emergency relief to the population and provided nearly 300 families with food, clothing, basic hygiene products and emotional support. These programmes have since been taken over by local community leaders and government authorities.
In some places, the region's infrastructure is still in disrepair and the economy is still reeling from the disaster. The destruction and ruin of countless shops and companies caused the loss of thousands of jobs. Although unemployment in Chile has recently been going down, Concepción has experienced the opposite in the years after the earthquake: unemployment has been on the rise, especially among women under the age of 34, for whom the unemployment rate is nearly double that of men. Today, there are 67,000 people city thought to be jobless. Thousands of people fled Concepción in the year after the earthquake, searching for safety and work in other parts of the country.
What does SOS Children's Villages do in Concepción?
SOS Children's Villages began working in Concepción in 1972. For children who have found themselves homeless due to disaster, disease or any other factor, they can find a new home in our Children's Village. There, they can live with an SOS family with other children and in the warm care of an SOS Mother. The children attend local schools with children from the neighbourhood and remain integrated in the community.
An SOS training centre in the area prepares future SOS staff, educators and SOS Mothers for their important roles in our organisation.
When children are ready to leave the SOS Village, we support them on their journey to independence. Qualified counsellors teach young adults from SOS Children's Village Concepción, Bulnes, Chaimavida, Coyanco and Puerto Valas, schooling them, providing them with education and technical, vocational training skills. Our youth programme helps young people to plan out their futures and prepare for an independent adult life.
Shocked by the 2010 earthquake, many families and children are still recovering from the after-effects. Many children lost their parents, and are now growing up in our Children's Village. You can sponsor one of these children today.