On Saturday, at 3:34 am, Chile was struck by a powerful earthquake, one of the most devastating representations of nature. An astounding 8.8-magnitud quake (Richter), one of the most intense recorded in history, has hit Central and Southern Chile, bringing chaos and suffering to many Chilean families. Many people are missing, injured or have been rendered homeless, either due to the quake itself or the accompanying Tsunami, and to date, more than 700 casualties have been confirmed. Sadly, but surely, these numbers will rise. Our heart goes to all those families in this terrible situation.
Infrastructural damages are numerous (thousands of buildings are uninhabitable, including several hospitals) and water, electricity, and other basic services are limited. Mobile and land phone services have collapsed.
This has been the most intense quake in Chile in the last 50 years, and the second one in the world, since 1990. “State of catastrophe” has been declared in the hardest-hit regions, which allows for a faster distribution of aid (See image, taken from El Mercurio).
The current government, led by Michelle Bachelet, and the recently elected one (to take office in March 11th) are working together to bring quick solutions to everyone who has been affected by this quake. Military units have been deployed to critical locations to help and protect the population and maintain order, as supermarkets and other stores have been the target of pillage.
Several presidents around the world have offered their help in these difficult times. Their help will indubitably be of importance as the task ahead, the reconstruction of the affected zones, will be a great one. "This will take a great effort from all sectors, public and private” the president said.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone, both in Chile and abroad, that have gone out of their ways to contact me during the last few hours. We are all OK; your concern is deeply appreciated. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to have received direct messages from Twitter friends, which I will reply to promptly.
I may be posting more updates through Twitter soon.