8 Chilean Dioceses Affected by Earthquake

Caritas Reports on Relief Effort

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CONCEPCION, Chile, MARCH 4, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Eight of Chile’s 27 dioceses were affected by Saturday’s 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near Concepcion, the country’s second largest city, Caritas reported.

As communications are being reestablished with the affected areas, the agency is giving an updated report on the situation on the ground.

Over 800 Chileans were killed in the quake. Some 500,000 were displaced and 2 million affected by the disaster.

Earlier today, a 4.9-magnitude aftershock hit the demolished Maule region, and another tremor measuring 6.1 shook Valparaiso.

Over 120 aftershocks measuring at least 5.0 have struck the country since Saturday’s quake.

Caritas is running three sites in Concepcion where is receives aid and delivers it immediately to the survivors. Although its offices in that city were destroyed, staff members are working continually with the bishop’s house as their base. They have given food to at least a thousand people thus far.

Hope

The secretary general of the national Caritas office, Lorenzo Figueroa León, said that the agency’s response from around the world “has been quick and effective.”

He continued: “It has not just been material aid, but counselling and comfort to survivors that has made a real difference.

“It has given the people hope.”

Wednesday, the agency sent two trucks with food kits to Talca City, some 250 miles south of Santiago.

Today, another 20 trucks left the capital with aid for the people in Concepcion and the surrounding areas.

Each food kit contains powdered milk, oil, sugar, salt, tea, rice and canned tuna. The agency is also distributing hygiene materials.

Caritas noted that it is still challenging to transport aid to the affected areas due to damaged roads.

Saturday’s earthquake was 500 times more forceful than the Jan. 12 quake in Haiti.

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ZENIT Staff

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